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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect program late last week announced six awards with a total value of $37 million for fiber broadband networks in rural Alabama. Total awards made now surpass the $550 million USDA ReConnect Round 2 budget.

In all, the six awards, which are in the form of five grants and one grant/loan combination, potentially will serve 28,234 people, 234 businesses and many other entities such as fire stations, posts offices and farms.

The awards:

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  • Central Alabama Electric Cooperative got a $8.6 million grant to connect 13,853 people, 149 farms, 77 businesses and one fire station to high-speed broadband internet in Bibb, Chilton, Perry, Autauga, Talladega, Elmore and Coosa counties.
  • Millry Telephone Company got a $8.3 million grant to connect 4,444 people, 84 farms, 46 businesses, four fire stations and a post office in Choctaw and Washington counties.
  • Pine Belt Telephone Company Inc. got a $6.5 million grant and a $6.5 million loan to connect 5,799 people, 143 farms, 83 businesses, five fire stations, five educational facilities and four post offices to high-speed broadband internet in Perry, Hale and Marengo counties.
  • Moundville Telephone got a $166,000 grant to connect 111 people and a farm in Hale County.
  • Mon-Cre Telephone Cooperative got a $5.8 million grant to deploy to connect 2,546 people, 36 farms, 19 businesses and three fire stations in Crenshaw, Lowndes and Montgomery counties.
  • Hayneville Telephone Company got a $1.5 million grant to connect 1,481 people, 19 farms, nine businesses, and four educational facilities in Lowndes County.

The awards continue a frenetic pace for the program, with award announcements accelerating this month. The USDA announced 15 awards worth almost $158 million in awards in Kentucky, Illinois, Washington, Missouri, Michigan, New Mexico and Iowa last week. Earlier in the week, it announced awards worth $26.4 million in West Virginia, Illinois and Minnesota.

Although the USDA ReConnect Round 2 budget has now been committed, the agency may continue to make awards as it did in Round 1 of the program.

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