The U.S. Agriculture Department is awarding $759 million in ReConnect program grants and loans for high-speed internet access projects across 24 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and Palau.
Today’s investments include funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides $65 billion to expand reliable, affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the U.S. The money comes from the third funding round of the ReConnect Program.
USDA had said when awarding $502 million for ReConnect projects last month that the third round of funding was coming soon. The application window for the fourth round of funding is open until Wednesday.
Among the ReConnect projects receiving funding today are:
- North Carolina’s AccessOn Networks Inc., which is receiving a $17.5 million grant to connect thousands of people, 100 businesses, 76 farms and 22 educational facilities to high-speed internet in Halifax and Warren counties in North Carolina.
- Tekstar Communications, which is getting a $12.6 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect thousands of people, 171 farms, 103 businesses and an educational facility to high-speed internet in Douglas, Otter Tail, St. Louis, Stearns and Todd counties in Minnesota..
- The Eastern Slope Rural Telephone Association of Colorado is receiving an $18.7 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network connecting thousands of people, 898 farms, 110 businesses and 17 educational facilities to high-speed internet in Adams, Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Crowley, Elbert, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Lincoln and Washington counties.
“People living in rural towns across the nation need high-speed internet to run their businesses, go to school and connect with their loved ones,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a prepared statement about these latest ReConnect projects. “USDA partners with small towns, local utilities and cooperatives, and private companies to increase access to high-speed internet so people in rural America have the opportunity to build brighter futures.”
The largest award, in the form of a $36 million loan, will go to Public Service Telephone of Georgia. The smallest award, in the form of a $1.7 million grant, will go to Scott County Telephone of Arkansas. The complete award list may be found here.