The latest round of USDA rural broadband funding was announced yesterday, with $97 million allocated for projects in 11 states. The funding is a mix of loans and grants, flowing from the USDA Rural Development Telecommunications Loans and Community Grants program, and targets over 22K subscribers.
The largest loan, $21.4 million, was awarded to Chibardun Telephone Cooperative in Wisconsin. The rural carrier will add FTTP capabilities and construct 675 new miles of fiber, impacting 2,700 subscribers, according to USDA.
The largest grant, $2.7 million, was awarded to Osage Innovative Solutions of Oklahoma. The grant will help fund a hybrid fiber-fixed wireless project to bring broadband to an unserved portion of the Osage Nation in Osage County, according to USDA.
“A person’s location should not determine whether he or she has access to modern communications infrastructure,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a prepared statement. “That is why USDA is partnering with businesses and communities by investing in state-of-the-art broadband e-connectivity to remote and rural areas. These investments will expand access to educational, social and business opportunities for 22,000 subscribers to help grow their rural communities and America’s economy.”
This funding impacts projects in Arizona, Iowa, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Loan funding amounts to $87.9 million, while grant funding comes in at $9.3 million. A list and a description of all the projects receiving funding through this round can be found here.
This funding is a part of the USDA Rural Development’s rural economic development program, which funds a variety of rural infrastructure projects through loans and grants.