Grand River Mutual Telephone Corporation has won $41.6 million in rural broadband funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect program. The money will go toward broadband deployments to serve rural households and farms in Missouri and southern Iowa.
Grand River Mutual Telephone will build a FTTP network capable of providing of 100 Mbps or greater broadband speeds to areas in which there are 2,288 households, 17 businesses and 39 farms.
“In Missouri and across the country, technology and innovation are vital to agricultural production,” U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce said in a press release. “Our commitment to invest in rural America cannot be achieved without addressing the digital divide our rural communities face because of a lack of high-speed broadband Internet.”
The funding is part of the first round of ReConnect investments by the USDA. The total budget of the program is $600 million, split equally between loans, grants and hybrid loan/grant awards. The press release does not say which form the Grant River Mutual Telephone award will take.
The USDA received 146 applications for the ReConnect program totaling $1.4 billion. The goal of the program is to improve speeds in areas that have less than 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speeds.
The USDA has made several ReConnect announcements in the past two months:
- Last week, a loan of $7.2 million was made to The Heartland Telecommunications Company of Iowa. The money will be used provide services to 27 farms and 868 rural households in Iowa and South Dakota. The telco will deploy FTTP networks capable of 1 Gbps symmetrical services.
- Earlier this month, the USDA awarded a $27.5 million grant to Star Telephone Membership Corp. of Clinton, NC that will support almost 8,750 households. At the same time, the USDA said that more than 3,000 households will get service via a $4.2 million loan to Oklahoma Western Telephone Company.
- In early November, the USDA announced an award of $3.8 million to Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative. The nature of the investment was not announced.
- In October, The USDA made a grant of $9.75 million to Orangeburg County, S.C. It will serve 3,911 households, 17 rural businesses, 13 educational facilities, nine critical community facilities and a health care center.
- The first award was a $2.85 million grant in October to the Forked Deer Electric Cooperative in Tennessee. The money will be used to increase speeds to 100 Mbps for 347 households and one critical care facility spread over 435 square miles.