U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development and Oklahoma State Director Kenneth Corn announced today $67.6 million in grants and loans to connect thousands of rural residents, farmers and business owners across rural Oklahoma to affordable high-speed internet through the ReConnect Program, funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This program is uniquely designed to fund the most difficult high-speed internet projects in the nation, which are the most rural, remote and unserved communities. In total nearly $700 million is being utilized to provide high-speed broadband to rural and tribal communities across the Nation.
Connecting all communities across the United States to high-speed internet is a central part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to rebuild the economy from the bottom up and middle out by rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure. This agenda is driving more than $500 billion in private-sector manufacturing investments, rebuilding America’s infrastructure, lowering costs, and creating good-paying jobs. And it’s transforming our country for the better – reaching communities in every corner of the United States, including those that have too often been left behind.
“Ensuring our rural and tribal communities can connect with the same high-speed internet resources as their counterparts in more populated regions of the state is absolutely critical for the long-term success of small towns across Oklahoma,” Corn said. “Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration this expansion of broadband will mean more Oklahomans will have improved access to vital sectors such as healthcare, banking and education services.”
Today’s announcement has investments with the following projects:
- Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, $24.9 million grant, and will serve the Pawnee Nation Tribal Statistical Areas and socially vulnerable communities in Pawnee and Payne Counties.
- Oklahoma Western Telephone Company, $24.9 million grant, and will serve the Choctaw Tribal statistical area and socially vulnerable communities in Atoka, Latimer, Le Flore, Pittsburg and Pushmataha Counties.
- Cimarron Telephone Company, $8.8 million grant and $8.8 million loan, and will serve the Muscogee Creek Tribal statistical area.
Many residents and businesses in rural areas would not have high-speed internet service without the ReConnect Program, as the program is a key part of the Administration’s Internet for All initiative to connect everyone in America to high-speed internet by 2030. Today’s announcement includes $667 million in USDA investments 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.
“President Biden has continued to prove that he is delivering on his promise to transform America and rebuild our economy with American ingenuity,” Corn said. “I am genuinely excited to see how this project not only improves the day-to-day needs of our rural Oklahomans and tribal members, but also how it will positively impact the next generation of Oklahomans to come.”
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. To learn more, visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/ok.