The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced $16.7 million in ReConnect broadband awards for projects in Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska. The USDA ReConnect awards were announced in two press releases.

USDA ReConnect Awards
Harmony Telephone Company will receive $5.4 million, evenly split between a loan and a grant, to construct an FTTP network connecting 577 households, a health care center and a critical community facility in a 143 square mile area in counties bordering south Minnesota and northern Iowa. 

In northern Iowa, Osage Municipal Utilities will get a grant of $397,749 to provide broadband to households, farms and businesses in Mitchell County. The project will access a fiber trunk line that runs through Mitchell, Iowa and extends to the border of Minnesota. The project will serve 151 households in a 20 square mile area. 

Minnesota’s Consolidated Telephone Company will receive a grant of $5.2 million to construct an FTTP network offering symmetrical speeds as fast as 1 Gbps to serve almost 700 homes and public facilities in Cherry and Great Scott townships. The provider also will use existing middle-mile infrastructure in partnership with Northeast Service Cooperative and will require only 157.1 additional miles of new FTTP construction. The project will serve 667 households, two educational facilities and two critical community facilities in St. Louis County.

Eastern Nebraska Telephone Company will use a $5.7 million grant and $1.9 million in matching funds to construct 221 miles of FTTP infrastructure. The project will connect 489 rural households, 24 farms and eight businesses in portions of Madison, Wayne and Pierce counties

The first phase of the ReConnect program, which was created in March 2018, consists of $600 million equally divided between loans, grants and combined loan/grants. The USDA received 146 applications between May 31 and July 12 totaling $1.4 billion. The program has awarded half of total funding.

The second round of funding was announced last month. The application period for this phase, which consists of $550 million, is between January 31 and March 15.


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