The USDA’s ReConnect program continued its flurry of awards with grants and combined loan/grants for broadband networks in South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Nevada.
In all, investments of almost $61 million in six projects will potentially connect 7,831 people, 164 businesses and many other community assets such as farms and health care and educational facilities. The awards are being made in the $550 second round of the program.
In South Dakota Valley Telecommunications Cooperative Association Inc. will use a $5.5 million ReConnect grant to connect 1,561 people, 30 businesses, 185 farms, three essential community facilities and six educational facilities to high-speed broadband internet in Beadle, Brookings, Clark, Kingsbury and Moody counties.
Alliance Communications Cooperative Inc. will use a $1.5 million grant to connect 1,176 people, 19 businesses and 30 farms to high-speed broadband internet in Lincoln and Turner counties.
In Montana, Project Telephone Company will use a $5.4 million grant and $5.4 million loan to connect 2,182 people, 160 farms and 67 businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Big Horn, Stillwater and Carbon counties.
In Idaho, the Midvale Telephone Company will use a $5.4 million grant and $5.4 million loan connect 236 people, 15 businesses, four farms and one fire station in Washington, Custer, Blaine, Valley and Idaho counties.
Direct Communications Rockland will use a $9.8 million grant and a $9.8 million loan to connect 2,064 people, 118 farms, 30 businesses, a post office and a fire station to high-speed broadband internet in Bear Lake, Power, Franklin and Oneida counties.
In a three-state project, Oregon-Idaho Utilities will use a $12.8 million grant to connect 612 people, 75 farms and three businesses in Owyhee County, ID; Malheur County, OR and Humboldt and Elko counties in NV.
There were previous ReConnect broadband awards in Montana and South Dakota. Last year, South Dakota telecommunications entities received three grants totaling about $20 million and this year, one grant of about $1.7 million. A provider in Montana got a grant of about $3.6 million last year, according to the USDA.
It’s been quite a week for the program. Yesterday, the USDA announced ReConnect grant and combined grant/loan investments of almost $105 million in broadband funding for Illinois, Alaska, Colorado and Iowa.