U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Oklahoma State Director, Kenneth Corn today announced that the Department is providing more than $85.7 million to bring high-speed internet access to people living and working across Oklahoma. Today’s investments include funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a historic $65 billion to expand reliable, affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the United States.
“This grant provides much needed assistance to our rural partners, so we can bridge the digital divide in rural Oklahoma and our tribal communities,” Corn said. “High-speed internet investment is vital to ensure we can grow and provide our businesses, banking, schooling, and healthcare sectors a much-needed boost to small town Main Streets and tribal communities across the Sooner State. Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is committed to making sure that people, no matter where they live, have access to high-speed internet. As the Biden-Harris Administration continues to demonstrate, that’s how you grow the economy – not just in rural communities, but across the nation.”
The more than $85.7 million investment in loans and grants for Oklahoma comes from the third funding round of the ReConnect Program. As part of today’s announcement, for example:
- $24,996,065 will be used to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 3,486 people, 792 farms, 124 businesses and 12 educational facilities in Noble, Osage, and Pawnee counties in Oklahoma. This project will serve the Pawnee, Ponca and Otoe-Missouria Oklahoma Tribal Statistical Areas in Oklahoma.
- $11,105,000 will be used to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 1,901 people, 95 farms and 47 businesses in McCurtain County, Oklahoma. Pine Cellular Phones Inc. will make high-speed internet affordable by participating in the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program. This project will serve socially vulnerable communities in McCurtain County in Oklahoma and the Choctaw Oklahoma Tribal Statistical Area.
- $24,760,303 will be used to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 3,975 people, 981 farms, 216 businesses and 11 public schools to high-speed internet in Alfalfa, Harper, Major, Woods, and Woodward counties in Oklahoma. Pioneer Telephone Cooperative Inc. will make high-speed internet affordable by participating in the FCC's Lifeline Program. Washington counties. The company will make high-speed internet affordable by participating in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program.
- $7,497,965 will be used to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 1,529 people, 90 farms, 37 businesses and six educational facilities to high-speed internet in Jefferson County, Oklahoma. Terral Telephone Company will make high-speed internet affordable by participating in the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program. This project will serve socially vulnerable communities in Jefferson County and the Chickasaw Oklahoma Tribal Statistical Area.
- $13,552,987 will be used to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 2,031 people, 359 farms and 34 businesses to high-speed internet in Le Flore, McCurtain and Pushmataha counties in Oklahoma. The Pine Telephone Company Inc. will make high-speed internet affordable by participating in the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program. This project will serve the Choctaw Oklahoma Tribal Statistical Area and socially vulnerable communities in Le Flore County.
- $3,822,049 will be used to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 1,407 people, 54 farms, 52 businesses and four educational facilities to high-speed internet in Ottawa County, Oklahoma. Wyandotte Telephone Company will make high-speed internet affordable by participating in the FCC's Affordable Connectivity and Lifeline programs. This project will serve the Wyandotte Oklahoma Tribal Statistical Area in Ottawa County in Oklahoma.
USDA is making 49 awards in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wyoming, Puerto Rico, Guam and Palau. This list includes awards 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.
Background: ReConnect Program
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.
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.
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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