Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced July 20 the funding including $74.8 million in telecom loans and $11 million in Community Connect grants with the goal of increasing broadband access for rural Americans in seven states. About the funding, Vilsack said “"Broadband is fundamental to expanding economic opportunity and job creation in rural areas, and it is as vital to rural America's future today as electricity was when USDA began bringing power to rural America 80 years ago.”
The telecommunications loans will support upgrades to fiber, electronics, network upgrades and infrastructure additions. These improvements will provide greater bandwidth, new and improved services, and meet growing demand for subscribers in Minnesota, South Carolina, Montana and Wisconsin.
The $11 million Community Connect grants bring the total number of grants awarded by the USDA to 74 since 2009 totaling more than $77 million. These grants are specifically for rural areas that did not previously have broadband service. The latest funding will benefit Cooperatives in Alaska, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Virgina.
Community Connect grants are part of a rural broadband funding effort to ensure the United States remains at the forefront of telcom infrastructure and has made fast 4G wireless broadband available to over 98% of Americans.
See the original News Release and learn more about the funding at the USDA Website.
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