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USDA and Pembroke Telephone Company Connecting People in Rural Georgia to High-Speed Internet as part of Investing in America Agenda

Deborah Brumfield
Reidsville, Ga.
Release Date

Reidsville, Ga., June 12, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Georgia Rural Development officials gathered in Reidsville, Georgia with City and County officials and Pembroke Telephone Company to announce that high-speed internet will soon be coming to new parts of Candler, Evans and Tattnall counties, Georgia.  This is made possible with a USDA ReConnect grant of $9,472,875 that will be used along with $3,157,625 investment by Pembroke Telephone Company and will benefit 3,332 people, 55 businesses, 120 farms and four educational facilities. 

Located in North Bryan County, Georgia, the grant recipient, Pembroke Telephone Company (PAC Fiber, Pembroke, Ga.), has served the Southeast Georgia region for nearly 120 years. Pembroke Telephone Company Inc. invested $10 million with two prior ReConnect awards that has already extended access to high-speed internet in Bryan and Evans counties.

This award is part of a $741 million nationwide announcement of the fourth round of ReConnect funding; today, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Biden-Harris Administration and USDA are connecting thousands of rural residents, farmers and business owners in 19 states to reliable, affordable high-speed internet. Since the beginning of the Biden-Harris Administration, the Department has invested in 142 ReConnect projects that will bring high-speed internet access to 314,000 rural Americans.

“High-speed internet is a key to prosperity for people who live and work in rural communities,” Secretary Vilsack said. “Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we can ensure that rural communities have access to the internet connectivity needed to continue to expand the economy from the bottom up and middle out and to make sure rural America remains a place of opportunity to live, work, and raise a family.”

Connecting all communities across the United States to high-speed internet is made possible as a result of President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It reflects the goals of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to rebuild our economy from the bottom up and middle out by rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, driving more than $470 billion in private-sector manufacturing investments, creating good-paying jobs, and building a clean energy economy to tackle the climate crisis and make our communities more resilient.

USDA is ensuring the service being made available is affordable to all rural residents by requiring all awardees to participate in the Federal Communication Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program.

Background: ReConnect Program

Applicants to ReConnect Program funding must serve an area that lacks access to service at speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 20 Mbps upload. Applicants 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 the 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.

To learn more about investment resources for rural areas, visit www.rd.usda.gov or contact the Georgia USDA Rural Development state office at (706) 546-2162.

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.

To subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit the GovDelivery subscriber page.