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Biden-Harris Administration Provides $2.1 Million to Bring High-Speed Internet Access to Communities in Madison County

Jamie Welch Jaro
Boise, ID
Release Date

BOISE, Idaho, Oct. 27, 2022 – USDA Rural Development Idaho State Director Rudy Soto today announced that the Department is providing $2.1 million to extend high-speed internet access to people living and working in Idaho’s Madison County.

“This funding to build out better internet connectivity for Madison County is a major investment in a very deserving community of Idaho. These rural residents will soon see it boost their quality of life and support the growth of many vital industries such as healthcare, education, public safety, and commerce,” Soto said. “USDA Rural Development helped bring electricity to small towns a century ago and now we’re working diligently to help bring high-speed internet across our state and country so more people will enjoy access to education and training opportunities, remote work, and health and safety systems.”

Columbine Telephone Company, Inc., is receiving a $2.1 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect residents, businesses, and agricultural operations in Madison County, Idaho, to high-speed internet. Columbine Telephone Company will make high-speed internet affordable by participating in the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program.

This project is funded through the third funding round of the ReConnect Program. Today’s announcement is part of a nationwide announcement of $759 million USDA is investing in multiple states and to The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, and the utility authorities for the Navajo Nation and the Tohono O’odham Nation. Many of the awards will help rural people and businesses on Tribal lands.

In 2022, the Department has announced $1.6 billion from the third round of ReConnect funding.

 To be eligible for ReConnect Program funding, an applicant must serve an area that does not have access to service at speeds of 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 with speeds of 100 Mbps (download and upload) to every location in its proposed service area.

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/id.

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.