Funding Will Provide High-Speed Internet Access to People and Businesses in Big Horn, Hot Springs, Park, Sheridan and Washakie Counties
CASPER, Wyo., Sept. 22, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development (RD) Wyoming State Director Glenn Pauley today announced that the Department is awarding $9.59 million to provide high-speed internet access for rural residents and businesses in Wyoming. The funding is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to investing in rural infrastructure and providing reliable, affordable, high-speed internet for all. USDA is making the investments through the third funding round of the ReConnect Program.
“Connectivity is essential for our everyday activities and economic growth, and this funding will help several rural communities have improved access to high-speed internet,” said Pauley. “Rural Development prioritizes the development of infrastructure and access to basic needs in our rural communities, improving quality of life and economic prosperity.”
Tri County Telephone Association Inc. in Cody received a $9.59 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network that will connect 204 people, 15 businesses and 19 agricultural operations to high-speed internet in Big Horn, Hot Springs, Park, Sheridan and Washakie counties. The project includes areas surrounding Meeteetse, Hamilton Dome, Manderson, Hyattville and a previously unserved area on the Big Horn Mountains between Greybull and Sheridan. All the project areas have less than six people per square mile. Tri County Telephone Association Inc. will make high-speed internet affordable by implementing the FCC's Affordable Connectivity and Lifeline programs.
USDA is making 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.
USDA has announced $858 million in the third round of ReConnect funding so far and plans to make more investment announcements under this program in the coming weeks, including 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. Today’s announcement follows the Department’s July 28 announcement that it has invested $356 million through the ReConnect Program to help very rural residents and businesses in 11 states gain access to high-speed internet.
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 take full advantage of the opportunities provided by 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.
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