August 22, 2023
USDA announced it will allocate an additional $667 million in grants to bring high-speed internet service to more rural areas. Those grants will support projects in 22 states and the Marshall Islands.
“This funding that we are announcing today is part of an unprecedented $90 billion investment in America’s high-speed internet infrastructure in order to ensure that we deliver internet for all,” White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu said shortly after the announcement.
Funds will come through the ReConnect loan and grant program that was created in 2018. Since its inception, the program has invested $3.1 billion in 179 high-speed internet projects. According to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, these investments will improve opportunities for more than 430,000 rural Americans. He says that high-speed internet is especially important for farmers who use precision agriculture technology as well as those who produce and market climate smart products.
“Keeping the people of rural America connected with reliable, high-speed internet brings new and innovative ideas to the rest of our country and creates good-paying jobs along the way,” Vilsack says. “Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are connecting rural communities to a global marketplace. These investments will support economic growth and prosperity for generations to come.”
This is the fourth round of ReConnect funding to be announced. These latest grants will fund projects in Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and the Marshall Islands.
Several grants will support people living in Rural Partners Network communities. That program supports rural communities that have historically struggled to access government programs and funding.
North Carolina’s Star Telephone Membership Corporation will get $24.9 million to help areas near Bladen, Columbus and Sampson Counties in North Carolina.
Pioneer Telephone Cooperative in Oregon will also receive $24.9 million to improve internet access in Lincoln, Lane and Benton Counties. New Mexico’s SWC Telesolutions will receive $9.2 million to support people in Doña Ana County.
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