The U.S. Department of Agriculture made three more USDA ReConnect awards announcements, which total $59.3 million and potentially will provide broadband to almost 15,000 people and a variety of community facilities in four states.

The biggest award announcement focuses on Kentucky and northern Tennessee and involved one loan and three grants.

Details of these awards include:

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  • Ballard Rural Telephone Cooperative Corporation will use a $2.4 million ReConnect Program grant to deploy an FTTP network in McCracken County. The funded service areas include 578 households and a critical community facility spread over 20 square miles.
  • Duo County Telephone Cooperative Corporation Inc. will use an $18.7 million ReConnect Program grant to deploy an FTTP network in Adair, Cumberland and Russell counties. The funded service areas include almost 3,650 households spread over 45 square miles.
  • Gibson Electric Membership Corporation was awarded a $32 million ReConnect Program loan to deploy an FTTP network in Fulton, Graves and Hickman counties in Kentucky, and in Dyer, Lake, Obion and Weakley counties in Tennessee. The areas include almost 7,400 households spread over 1,056 square miles.
  • Thacker-Grigsby Telephone Company Inc. was awarded a $2.3 million ReConnect Program grant to deploy FTTN in Breathitt County. The funded service area includes 637 households spread over 109 square miles.

The investments total $55.3 million and potentially will provide services to 12,250 households and almost 100 farms.

Total USDA ReConnect Awards
Another announcement — for $1.6 million — is in the form of a grant to Wecom Inc. It will provide services to Peach Springs, AZ. The project, an FTTP and hybrid FTTN fixed wireless system, will serve 1,492 households, 27 pre-subscribed businesses, six educational facilities, four pre-subscribed farms, three critical community facilities and a health care center. The target population includes many members of the Hualapai Tribe.

The USDA also announced that it is investing $2.4 million in a project that will initiate or improve services to 250 households and home-based businesses in Mason County in the southwest area of Washington. The grant is to Mason Public Utility District 3, which is based in Sheldon. The Three Fingers Rural Broadband Fiber Project will provide middle- and last-mile connectivity to Grapeview.

So far, the ReConnect program has made 47 awards that total nearly $480 million and covering 26 states or territories, according to the USDA. In all, $600 million will be evenly split between awards, grants, and hybrid loans and grants.

The USDA said earlier this week that it will begin accepting applications for second round ReConnect tomorrow. That phase of the program will total $550 million.

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