Funding Will Provide High-Speed Internet Access to Individuals and Businesses in Rural and Remote Areas in 20 States; Additional funding will come from President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill in the coming months
WASHINGTON, September 22, 2022 — United States 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 for rural residents and businesses in 20 states. 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. USDA is making the investment through the third round of funding from the ReConnect program. The Department will make additional investments in high-speed Internet in rural areas in the coming months, including funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a historic $65 billion investment to expand affordable high-speed Internet to all community in the United States
“President Biden’s commitment to high-speed internet in rural communities is critical to ensuring the nation’s economy continues to grow bottom-up and outward,” Vilsack said. “High-speed internet will improve the rural economy. It will help rural businesses 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 is presenting 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 on tribal lands and people in socially vulnerable communities.
As part of today’s announcement:
- In Michigan, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is receiving a $25 million grant to connect 1,217 people and 26 businesses to high-speed Internet in Chippewa and Mackinac counties. The Tribe will make high-speed Internet accessible by requiring its service provider to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Affordable Connectivity Program, which offers up to $30 a month off — or $75 a month for families in the lands tribal – on the family’s Internet bills, as well as the FCC’s Lifeline program. This project will serve Sault Ste. Marie Off-Reservation Trust Land, Sault Ste. Marie Reservation, and socially vulnerable communities in Chippewa and Mackinac counties.
- Net Vision Communications LLC is receiving a $12.4 million loan to connect 4,587 people, 300 businesses, nine farms and 15 public schools to high-speed Internet in Barton County, Missouri. This project will serve socially vulnerable communities in the county.
- Southern Plains Cable LLC of Oklahoma is receiving an $8.1 million loan and $8.1 million grant to roll out a fiber-optic network that will connect 7,093 people, 230 businesses, six farms and 29 schools to High Speed Internet in Caddo, Comanche , Cotton and Grady counties. Southern Plains will make high-speed Internet accessible by participating in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity and Lifeline programs. This project will serve the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache-Fort Sill Apache Tribal Statistical Area and socially vulnerable communities in Cotton County.
USDA has announced $858 million in the third round of ReConnect funding so far and expects to make additional investment announcements under this program in the coming weeks. Today’s announcement follows that of the Department Announcement of July 28th which has invested $356 million through the ReConnect program to help very rural residents and businesses 11 states (PDF, 192 KB) Get high-speed Internet access.
Context: ReConnect Program
To be eligible for ReConnect funding, an applicant must serve an area where the speed of high-speed Internet service is less than 100 megabits per second (Mbps) (download) and 20 Mbps (upload). The applicant must also commit to building facilities capable of providing high-speed Internet service at speeds of 100 Mbps (download and upload) at every location in the proposed service area.
Context: Bipartisan Infrastructure Act
President Biden forged consensus and compromise between Democrats, Republicans and independents to show that our democracy can bring great victories to the American people. After decades of speeches about rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, President Biden delivered 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 Law provides $65 billion to ensure every American has access to reliable and affordable high-speed Internet through a historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment. The legislation also reduces the cost of Internet service and helps bridge the digital divide so more Americans can take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by Internet access.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunity, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; accommodation; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information visit www.rd.usda.gov.
The USDA touches the lives of all Americans every day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming the American food system with an increased 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, building new markets and income streams for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in clean energy infrastructure and capacity in rural America, and striving for equity across the Department removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To find out more, visit www.usda.gov.
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The USDA is an equal opportunity supplier, employer and lender.