The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced about $714 million in investments in the fourth funding round of the ReConnect program.
The funding will support 142 projects that will bring high speed broadband to 314,000 people in 19 states.
The ReConnect program includes some awards in the form of grants, some as loans and some as grant/loan combinations. Six of the awards announced today were made as loans, while 12 were grant/loan combinations. The remainder were grants.
The announcements included initiatives in Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Washington.
The USDA press release offers examples of projects:
- The Home Telephone Company will connect almost 4,000 people, 49 businesses, 46 farms and two educational facilities in Berkeley County, SC.
- The Decatur Telephone Company will connect 5,400 people, 257 farms, 74 businesses and four educational facilities in Benton County, AR.
- The North-State Telephone Co. will connect 1,490 people, 64 businesses and 43 farms in Wasco County, OR.
- The Cal-Ore Telephone Company will connect 757 people, 45 businesses, 14 farms and four educational facilities Modoc and Siskiyou counties, CA.
- Goodman Telephone Company Inc. will connect nearly 7,000 people, 206 farms, 140 businesses and two educational facilities in McDonald and Newton counties in MO..
- The Craw-Kan Telephone Cooperative Inc. will connect 4,189 people, 821 farms, 149 businesses and three educational facilities to high-speed internet in Bourbon, Cherokee, Crawford, Labette and Neosho counties in KS.
A full list is here.
In April, the USDA announced more than $40 million in grants to the Western New Mexico Telephone Company, ENMR Telephone Cooperative and Penasco Valley Telephone Cooperative. All three grants are aimed at supporting broadband in New Mexico. The fourth round of the program has a budget of $1.15 billion.
The ReConnect Program serves areas that lack access to Internet speeds of 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps uploads. Applicants must commit to building infrastructure with symmetrical speeds of 100 Mbps to every location in the service area.
They also must participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides eligible households with discounts as high as $30 per month ($75 per month on Tribal Lands). The program also provides $100 toward the price of devices if the household spends between $10 and $30 out of pocket.
The ReConnect Program and the ACP are part of the $65 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which was created in late 2021.