The Trump Administration today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $43.2 million in grants and loans to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas in Idaho, Oregon and Nevada. This investment is part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect Program.
“So many rural communities across the west and across the nation need this critical infrastructure to prosper,” USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Jim Hubbard said. “This funding will allow for economic expansion, opportunity, and increased quality of life in these rural communities, which is desperately needed. I appreciate the leadership of President Trump and Secretary Perdue in prioritizing this critical initiative for rural communities across the country.”
Midvale Telephone Company will use a $5.4 million ReConnect grant and $5.4 million ReConnect loan to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 236 people, 15 businesses, four farms and one fire station to high-speed broadband internet in Washington, Custer, Blaine, Valley and Idaho counties in Idaho.
Direct Communications Rockland Inc. will use a $9.8 million ReConnect grant and a $9.8 million ReConnect Loan to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 2,064 people, 118 farms, 30 businesses, a post office and a fire station to high-speed broadband internet in Bear Lake, Power, Franklin and Oneida counties in Idaho.
Oregon-Idaho Utilities Inc. will use a $12.8 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 612 people, 75 farms and three businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Owyhee County, Idaho; Malheur County, Oregon; and Humboldt and Elko counties in Nevada.
In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America. On Dec. 13, 2018, Secretary Perdue announced the rules of the program, called “ReConnect,” including how the loans and grants will be awarded to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America.
On April 20, 2020, USDA announced the Department has received 172 applications for $1.57 billion in Round Two of the ReConnect Program. The second round will enable USDA to implement innovative new solutions to rural connectivity by leveraging financial options with our partners and continuing the success of the first round of funding. The application window for Round Two closed on April 15, 2020.
In Round One of the ReConnect Program, USDA invested $698 million to bring high-speed broadband e-Connectivity to approximately 167,000 households, 17,000 rural small businesses and farms, and more than 500 health care centers, educational facilities and critical community facilities located in 33 states. To learn more about individual investments, read USDA’s Broadband ReConnect Program report
(PDF, 4 MB).
Source : usda.gov
USDA received 11 Round Two ReConnect Program applications that are eligible for the $100 million Congress allocated to the program through the CARES Act.