The USDA announced $401 million in rural broadband funding awards, primarily through the ReConnect program. Included in the funding was one award in the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee program.
The awards will go to 21 companies for deployments in 11 states that will make service available to 31,000 rural residents and businesses. All the awards were for fiber broadband deployments.
The ReConnect program provides grants, loans and grant/loan combinations to go toward the cost of making symmetrical 100 Mbps service available to every location in a proposed service area. Eligible areas are those lacking service at speeds of at least 100/20 Mbps.
The majority of the ReConnect awards announced today – 14 out of 20 — are for grants. In addition, three loans and three loan/grant combination awards were announced.
USDA Rural Broadband Awards
The award made through the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee program was the largest award announced – a nearly $45 million loan for Valley Telephone Cooperative for deployments in Arizona and New Mexico.
The largest award announced through the ReConnect program was a $34.9 million grant to Bristol Bay Telephone Cooperative in Alaska. The smallest award made through the ReConnect program was a grant for just under $2 million for the San Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative in Colorado.
In a press release, USDA noted that some of the awards announced today will help people and businesses on tribal lands and those in socially vulnerable communities.
USDA said it will make additional investments in rural broadband later this summer, including awards funded through additional money made available for the ReConnect program in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The IIJA boosted the ReConnect budget by $2 billion.
A full list of the latest USDA rural broadband funding awards can be found at this link.