PHOENIX, July 28, 2022 – USDA Rural Development Arizona State Director Charlene Fernandez today announced the Department is investing $59 million to provide access to high-speed internet for rural residents and businesses throughout Arizona, part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to investing in rural infrastructure and affordable high-speed internet for all.
“We are so excited about today’s announcement to advance high-speed internet in our state,” Fernandez said. “Not only are we expanding access, we’re upgrading existing services so that more of our rural and remote cities and towns will have the best connectivity available. With these improvements there’s one less barrier to doing business, staying healthy, and earning an education in rural Arizona.”
Midvale Telephone Company is receiving a $10.6 million ReConnect Program loan to deploy a fiber-to-the-home network. It will connect 455 people, 39 businesses and 69 farms to high-speed internet in Elmore, Blaine, Custer and Boise counties in Idaho, and in Gila, Graham, Pinal, Cochise and Pima counties in Arizona. This loan will serve people in socially vulnerable communities in Pinal County in Arizona and Elmore County in Idaho.
Table Top Telephone Company, Inc. is receiving a $3.7 million ReConnect Program grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect 201 people, seven businesses and two farms to high-speed internet in Apache County. Table Top Telephone Company Inc. will make high-speed internet affordable by offering 100 megabits per second symmetrical service free for residents that participate in the Federal Communications Commission's Lifeline Affordable Connectivity Programs. This project will serve socially vulnerable communities in Apache County and will serve the Navajo Nation Reservation.
Valley Telephone Cooperative is receiving a $44.9 million loan through the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee program to upgrade the system's 13 exchanges in southeast Arizona and southwest New Mexico by replacing copper wire-based equipment with fiber-to-the-premises equipment. A total of 1,317 miles of buried fiber-optic cable will be laid and 2,755 optical network terminals will be installed along with optical line terminals, fiber panels, fiber distribution mainframes, and other upgraded equipment. These upgrades will provide better high-speed internet service and enhanced voice services.
The Department will make additional investments for rural high-speed internet later this summer, including ReConnect Program funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a historic $65 billion investment to expand affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the U.S.
USDA is supporting high-speed internet investments in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas through today’s national announcement. Several awards will help rural people and businesses on Tribal lands and those in socially vulnerable communities.
Background: ReConnect Program
To be eligible for ReConnect Program funding, an applicant must serve an area where high-speed internet service speeds are lower 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) to every location in its proposed service area.
Background: Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
President Biden forged consensus and compromise between Democrats, Republicans and Independents to demonstrate our democracy can deliver big wins for the American people. After decades of talk on rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, President Biden delivered the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – 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 affordable, reliable high-speed internet through a historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment. The legislation also lowers costs for internet service and helps close the digital divide, so that more Americans can make full use of internet access.
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. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/az.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater 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 streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
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