U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Colorado State Director Armando Valdez announced the awarding of a $13,885,361 grant to Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) through the third funding round of the USDA ReConnect Program.
“For too long, many rural communities across Colorado have been left out of the digital economy. Connectivity is a real game-changer in rural America. The internet is vital to our state’s growth and continues to act as a catalyst for our rural prosperity. Through this fiber-to-the-home network project, internet service will be made affordable by DMEA’s participation in the FCC's Affordable Connectivity and Lifeline programs to provide low-cost internet to its service area,” said Valdez. “The network will connect 3,577 people, 148 businesses, one school, and 765 farms to high-speed internet in Delta, Montrose and Gunnison counties. It is very exciting to bring this infrastructure progress to rural Colorado.”
In total, USDA is awarding $502 million in loans and grants to provide high-speed internet access for rural residents and businesses in 20 states. The Department will make additional investments for rural high-speed internet in the coming months, 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. So far, USDA has announced $858 million in the third round of ReConnect funding and is currently accepting applications for Round 4. For more information visit https://www.usda.gov/reconnect.
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.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, 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 in Colorado, visit www.rd.usda.gov/co.