The USDA ReConnect Program has made awards to service providers for deployment of FTTP networks in West Virginia, Illinois and Minnesota. The West Virginia, Illinois and Minnesota USDA ReConnect awards came in the form of grants.
The three projects, which are being awarded in the second round of the program, cumulatively total about $24.6 million and will potentially reach 14,502 people, 225 businesses and many community entities such as schools, post offices, fire stations and museums.
In West Virginia, Citynet will use a $7.6 million grant to network 6,054 people, 58 farms, 41 businesses, three fire stations, two public schools and two post offices to high-speed broadband internet in Barbour, Randolph, Webster and Doddridge counties.
In Illinois, Jo-Carroll Energy Inc. will use a $14 million grant to network 7,629 people, 378 farms, 150 businesses, eight public schools, three fire stations, two post offices and two museums in Jo Daviess, Carroll, Whiteside and Stephenson counties.
The Minnesota USDA ReConnect award went to Consolidated Telephone Company, which will use a $3 million grant to network 819 people, 34 businesses and 25 farms to high-speed broadband internet in Morrison County.
To date, the second round of the ReConnect Program has made 43 awards in 25 states and territories. The total – which is divided between grants, loans and grant/loan combinations, is $369,921,015.
These are not the first awards to providers in these states during the second round. In 2019, providers in Illinois got $3.4 million in a grant and $12.8 million in a grant/loan. This year, providers got two grant/loans worth $40.3 and $6.5 million. In 2019, providers in West Virginia got an $18.8 million grant and grant/loans of $2.1 million and $3.5 million. Also last year, Minnesota USDA ReConnect awards came in the form of a grant of $5.2 million and a grant/loan of $5.4 million.
The second round of the program is budgeted at $550 million, with the awards announced this week and last representing almost $200 million of that total. Awards during this two week period have been made in West Virginia, Minnesota,Wyoming, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Illinois, Colorado, Alaska and Iowa.