OSP Fiber Plow Rural

High speed broadband deployment will be buttressed by funding awards totaling $5.2 million in 11 states under an agreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and rural cooperatives, local organizations, and Tribes.

The awards will be made through the Broadband Technical Assistance Program to one or more projects in Texas, West Virginia, Alaska (two projects), Alabama, Florida, Idaho (two projects), Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska and New Mexico (two projects). 

The Broadband Technical Assistance Program helps expand high-speed internet into rural and Tribal communities through funding activities including feasibility studies, network designs, hiring efforts and application development assistance.

“Keeping the people of rural America connected with reliable, high-speed internet brings new and innovative ideas to the rest of our country,” USDA Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small said in a prepared statement about the USDA broadband awards.

“USDA is partnering with small towns, cooperatives, local utilities and private companies working to ensure that people, no matter where they live, have access to high-speed internet. That’s how you grow the economy — not just in rural communities, but across the nation.”

The USDA provided four examples of the funding in action:

  • Texas: Ciomperlik Enterprises LLC is receiving a $126,570 award to prepare reports, feasibility studies, financial forecasts, market surveys, environmental studies and technical design to expand high-speed internet access in 10 communities across Duval, Frio, Jim Hogg, La Salle and Zavala counties.
  • Missouri: Curators of the University of Missouri is receiving a $191,038 award to support community planning, a broadband economic analysis study, an environmental study, and a technical design study in Carter and Shannon counties.
  • Alaska: Connecting Alaska Consortium is receiving a $1 million award to deliver technical assistance and training to support planning and engagement, coordinating partnerships, grant-related training, and data collection and reporting. Funding will also support technical assistance and training conferences. The project will be used to promote and expand high-speed internet access in 122 rural and Tribal communities.
  • Alabama: The South Central Alabama Broadband Cooperative District is receiving a $820,000 award to perform community needs assessments and project planning, provide grant assistance, support construction planning and engineering and provide federal resource management and oversight in 45 communities across 15 counties.

The full USDA broadband projects list is available here.

Last week, the NTIA said that it had received 160 application totaling $2.64 billion in the current round of funding for the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. The program, however, is oversubscribed: It has a budget of only $980 million for this round of funding.

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