rural setting

In its latest announcements, the USDA ReConnect program has awarded almost $20 million to telecommunications providers in Wisconsin and Tennessee. Five USDA ReConnect Tennessee awards were made and one award was made in Wisconsin. The awards impact close to 13K people.

In Wisconsin, the program granted $3 million to Ntera LLC to create a FTTP network connecting 2,044 people, 33 farms and 33 businesses in Chippewa, Rusk, and Taylor counties.

The five USDA ReConnect Tennessee awards all came in the form of grants for FTTP networks:

  • Volunteer Energy Cooperative got $3.7 million to connect 2,687 people, 79 farms and nine businesses in Meigs County, Tennessee.
  • Ben Lomand Holdings got $1.9 million to deploy a FTTP network to connect 152 people, 33 farms and one business in Cumberland County.
  • Highland Communications, LLC got $6.4 million to connect 2,908 people, 73 farms, 25 businesses, eight educational facilities and a fire station in Campbell County.
  • DeKalb Telephone Cooperative, Inc. got $2.2 million to connect 2,053 people, 65 farms and 17 businesses to high-speed internet in Smith, Trousdale and Wilson counties.
  • West Tennessee Telephone Company got $2.7 million to connect 2,940 people, 40 farms, five businesses and a fire station to high-speed internet in Carroll County.

In all, the two states garnered $19.9 million in grants.

The Reconnect program has made several awards previously in Tennessee. Last year, it awarded grants to the Fork Deer Electric Coop for $2.8 million; to Ben Lomand Holdings – one of the recipients named this week—for $2.2 million and to the North Central Telephone Cooperative ($1.4 million). The People’s Telephone Company got a grant/loan for $3.3 million and the Gibson Electric Membership Corp. got a loan of $32 million.

This year, the Volunteer Energy Corp. got a grant of $3.7 million and the Ardmore Telephone company got a grant/loan of $9.8 million.

The second round of the program has been active recently. Earlier this week, it awarded a grant of $4.6 million to The Bay Springs Telephone Company in Mississippi.

In all, the second round of the ReConnect program generated 172 applications totaling $1.57 billion, which are competing for $550 million in available funding.

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