The USDA is coming close to winding down phase one of the ReConnect Pilot Program with recent awards totaling $16.8 million in Tennessee, Georgia and Illinois.

The $600 million phase of the ReConnect program, which is designed to create or upgrade broadband in rural areas, is evenly divided between grants, loans and grant/loan combinations. The latest announcements bring the total to more than $529 million. There are 60 “active” awards in 28 states and territories, according to the USDA.

Four providers got funding in Tennessee. In all, a $9 million investment in the state will provide services to 3,744 households, 31 businesses, 41 farms and a critical care facility.

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Tennessee USDA ReConnect Awards
The awards for Tennessee were:

  • Ben Lomand Holdings Inc. will use a $2.2 million ReConnect Program grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network to rural northeastern Cumberland County. This will potentially provide services to 222 households, six pre-subscribed businesses and three pre-subscribed farms in an area of more than 100 square miles.
  • A grant of $1.4 million to North Central Communications will provide residents and businesses in rural Smith County. The award covers 164 households, 10 pre-subscribed businesses and 21 pre-subscribed farms in a 22 square-mile area.
  • Peoples Telephone Company (which does business as TEC) got a grant and a loan – both for $1 million – to provide broadband service to residents and businesses in Houston, Henry, Stewart and Montgomery counties. The service areas cover 642 households, two pre-subscribed businesses and five pre-subscribed farms spread over 38 square miles.
  • United Communications got a $3.3 million ReConnect Program grant to provide broadband service in Wilson, Rutherford, Williamson and Maury counties. The areas include 2,716 households, 13 pre-subscribed businesses, 12 pre-subscribed farms and a critical community facility. The project area is spread over 48 square miles.

Outside Tennessee, USDA ReConnect awards went to Ellijay Telephone Company in Georgia and Hamilton County Telephone Cooperative Corporation in Illinois.

Ellijay got a $4.4 million investment to serve an area with 2,159 households, 25 pre-subscribed businesses, two critical community facilities, an educational facility and 24 pre-subscribed farms (including 22 poultry farms) in Gilmer County.

Hamilton County Telephone Cooperative Corporation Inc. will receive $3.4 million for a deployment in Hamilton County.

The ReConnect Program is accepting applications for the second phase of the program, which will total $550 million.

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