The funding includes awards outlined in President Biden’s Bilateral Infrastructure Act
WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 27, 2022 – US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the Department is providing $759 million to bring high-speed Internet access (PDF, 204 KB) to people who live and work in all 24 states, Puerto Rico , Guam and Palau. Today’s investment includes funding for President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a historic $65 billion to expand reliable, affordable, high-speed Internet to communities across the US.
“People living in rural towns across the country need high-speed Internet to run their businesses, go to school and connect with their loved ones,” Vilsack said. “USDA is partnering with small towns, local utilities and cooperatives, and private companies to expand access to high-speed Internet so rural Americans have the opportunity to build a brighter future. Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is committed to ensuring that people, no matter where they live, have access to high-speed Internet. That’s how you grow the economy – not just in rural communities, but in the whole nation.”
$759 billion in loans and grants comes from the third round of ReConnect Program funding. As part of today’s announcement, for example:
- AccessOn Networks Inc. of North Carolina is receiving a $17.5 million grant to connect thousands of people, 100 businesses, 76 farms and 22 educational institutions to high-speed Internet in Halifax and Warren counties in North Carolina. The company will make high-speed Internet service accessible by participating in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Lifeline and Affordable Communications Programs. The project will serve socially vulnerable communities in Halifax and Warren counties and the people of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribal Statistical Area.
- Tekstar Communications receives a $12.6 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect thousands of people, 171 farms, 103 businesses and a high-speed Internet education center in Douglas, Otter Tail, St. . Louis, Stearns and Todd counties in Minnesota. Tekstar will make high-speed internet accessible by offering its “Gig for Life” service, where households who sign up for internet will not have their internet rates increased as long as they live at the same address and continue the service. Tekstar will also participate in the FCC’s Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity programs.
- In Colorado, the Eastern Slope Rural Telephone Association is receiving an $18.7 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network connecting thousands of people, 898 farms, 110 businesses and 17 educational institutions to -high-speed internet in Adams, Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Crowley, Elbert, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Lincoln and Washington counties. The company will make high-speed Internet affordable by participating in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program.
The USDA makes 49 awards in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wyoming, Puerto Rico, Guam and Palau. The list includes awards to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, and authorities assisting the Navajo Nation and the Tohono O’odham Nation. Many awards will help rural people and businesses in Hlanga areas.
In 2022, the Department announced $1.6 billion in the third round of ReConnect funding.
Background: Reconnect system
To be eligible for ReConnect Program funding, an applicant must operate in an area with access to service at speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) (download) and 20 Mbps (upload). The applicant must also undertake to construct facilities capable of providing high-speed Internet service with a speed of 100 Mbps (download and upload) everywhere in its proposed service area.
To learn more about rural investment resources, visit www.rd.usda.gov or contact the nearest USDA Rural Development regional office.
Background: Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation
President Biden has made compromises and compromises between Democrats, Republicans and Independents to show that our democracy can bring great success to the American people. After decades of talking about rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, President Biden unveiled 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 that every American has access to affordable, reliable high-speed Internet through historic investments in broadband infrastructure. The law also lowers the cost of Internet service and helps close the digital divide, so that more Americans can take full advantage of the opportunities provided by Internet access.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life of millions of Americans in rural areas. This aid supports infrastructure development; business Development; houses; public institutions such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed Internet access in rural, tribal and impoverished areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, the USDA is transforming the American food system by focusing on strong local and regional food production, fair markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food for all communities, creating new markets and streams. income for farmers and producers who use climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce that represents America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
To subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit the GovDelivery subscriber page.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.