The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $76.5 million in USDA ReConnect Missouri and Louisiana rural broadband projects .
In Louisiana, The Star Telephone Company will use $7.7 million in grant money and the same amount in a ReConnect loan to make high-speed broadband available to 2,609 households, 12-pre-subscribed businesses and 16 pre-subscribed farms. The project will deploy 154 miles of fiber and 95 miles of drop fiber in a 136 square mile area in Iberville, Pointe Coupee and St. Landry parishes.
The bulk of the investment — $61 million – will be in Missouri. The projects will improve or create e-connectivity for more than 11,000 households, 81 farms, 73 businesses, 16 educational facilities, 12 critical community facilities and two health care facilities in the state.
USDA ReConnect Missouri Awards
USDA ReConnect Missouri awards include:
- Mid-States Services LLC will use a $3 million loan to provide unserved and underserved members in and around Trenton, Mo., with Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband services. This investment is expected to reach 566 households, a highway patrol office and an elementary school.
- Total Highspeed LLC will use a $20.1 million loan and a $20.1 million grant to build a Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network to improve broadband services to families and businesses in rural Greene County. This investment is expected to reach 8,683 households, 20 pre-subscribed farms, 15 pre-subscribed businesses, eight critical community facilities, 12 educational facilities and a health care center.
- Gascosage Electric Cooperative, serving Camden, Maries, Miller, Phelps and Pulaski counties, will use a $7 million loan and a $7 million grant to develop a Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network for its most rural areas. The investment is expected to reach 20 pre-subscribed farms, 20 pre-subscribed businesses, 1,177 households and two fire protection districts.
- Green Hills Telephone Corporation will use a $2.6 million grant to expand its Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network to rural areas in Caldwell and Livingston counties. This investment is expected to reach 20 pre-subscribed farms, 20 pre-subscribed businesses, 546 households, a fire protection district and two educational facilities.
- Marshall Municipal Utilities will use a $575,000 loan and a $575,000 grant to provide high-quality internet access to rural areas of Saline County. By expanding its current service area, an additional 21 pre-subscribed farms, 18 pre-subscribed businesses, 763 households, a private school and a nursing home will have access to broadband.
So far, the ReConnect program has made 41 awards totaling nearly $420 million covering 23 states or territories, according to the USDA. In all, $600 million will be evenly split between awards, grants, and hybrid loans and grants.
The USDA said earlier this week that it will begin accepting applications for second round ReConnect funding on Friday. That phase of the program will total $550 million.