The funding will provide high-speed Internet access to people and businesses in rural and remote areas in 20 states; Additional funds will come from President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill in the coming months
WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2022 – US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that the Department is awarding $502 million in loans and grants (PDF, 221 KB) to provide high-speed Internet access to rural residents and businesses in 20 states to provide. The funding is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to invest in rural infrastructure and provide reliable, affordable, high-speed internet for all. The USDA is making the investments as part of the third round of funding for the ReConnect program. The department will make additional investments for rural high-speed internet in the coming months, including funding from President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, which will see a historic $65 billion investment to bring affordable high-speed internet to all communities in the United States to expand
“President Biden’s commitment to high-speed internet in rural communities is fundamental to ensuring the nation’s economy expands bottom-up and middle-out,” Vilsack said. “High speed internet will improve the rural economy. It will help rural businesses to grow and access new markets. It will help rural residents access more and better health care and education opportunities. The USDA knows that rural America is America’s backbone, and prosperity here means prosperity for all.”
The USDA presents 32 awards in Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming. Many of the awards will help rural people and businesses in tribal areas and people in vulnerable communities.
As part of today’s announcement:
- In Michigan, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Receives $25 Million Grant to Connect 1,217 People and 26 Businesses in Chippewa and Mackinac Counties to High Speed Internet The Tribe will make high-speed Internet affordable by requiring its service provider to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Affordable Connectivity Program, which offers a rebate of up to $30 per month — or $75 per month for tribal households — grants household internet bills and the FCC’s Lifeline program. This project serves Sault Ste. Marie Off-Reservation Trust Land, the Sault Ste. Marie Reservation and socially vulnerable communities in Chippewa and Mackinac counties.
- Net Vision Communications LLC Receives $12.4 Million Loan to Connect 4,587 People, 300 Businesses, 9 Farms and 15 Public Schools in Barton County, Missouri to High Speed Internet. This project serves socially disadvantaged communities in the district.
- Southern Plains Cable LLC of Oklahoma will receive an $8.1 million loan and $8.1 million grant to build a fiber optic network that will serve 7,093 people, 230 businesses, six farms and 29 schools will connect to high speed internet in Caddo, Comanche , Cotton and Grady counties. Southern Plains will make high-speed Internet affordable by participating in the FCC Affordable Connectivity and Lifeline programs. This project will serve the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache-Fort Sill Apache Tribal Statistical Area and vulnerable communities in Cotton County.
The USDA has so far announced $858 million in ReConnect’s third round of funding and plans to make additional investment announcements under the program in the coming weeks. Today’s announcement follows the Department’s July 28 announcement that it has invested $356 million through the ReConnect program to help very rural residents and businesses in 11 states (PDF, 192 KB) gain access to high-speed Internet receive.
Background: ReConnect program
To be eligible for funding through the ReConnect program, an applicant must serve an area where high-speed Internet service speeds are below 100 megabits per second (Mbps) (download) and 20 Mbps (upload). lie. The applicant must also commit to constructing facilities capable of providing high-speed internet services at speeds of 100 Mbit/s (download and upload) at any location within its proposed coverage area.
To learn more about rural investment resources, visit www.rd.usda.gov or contact your nearest USDA rural development office.
Background: Non-partisan infrastructure law
President Biden forged consensus and compromise among Democrats, Republicans and independents to demonstrate that our democracy can bring great gains to the American people. After decades of talks about rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, President Biden has introduced the bipartisan Infrastructure Act — a historic investment in America that will change people’s lives for the better and get America moving again.
The bipartisan Infrastructure Act provides $65 billion to ensure every American has access to affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet through a historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment. The legislation also lowers the cost of internet services and helps close the digital divide, allowing more Americans to take full advantage of internet access opportunities.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to expand economic opportunity, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of rural Americans. This aid supports infrastructure improvements; Business development; Housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed Internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. Visit www.rd.usda.gov for more information.
The USDA touches the lives of all Americans in so many positive ways every day. In the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming the American food system with a stronger focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, and building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers who adopt climate-friendly food and forestry practices, make historic investments in clean energy infrastructure and capacity in rural America, and advocate for justice across the Department by removing systemic barriers and making one more representative of America workforce to be built up. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.