U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced nearly $700 million in grants and loans to connect thousands of rural residents, farmers and business owners in 22 states.
“Keeping the people of rural America connected with reliable, high-speed internet brings new and innovative ideas to the rest of our country and creates good-paying jobs along the way,” Secretary Vilsack said. “Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are connecting rural communities to a global marketplace. These investments will support economic growth and prosperity for generations to come.”
In Michigan, AllBand Communications Cooperative will use a $12,713,451 grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network providing high-speed internet. This network will benefit 891 people, 55 businesses and 60 farms in Alcona, Iosco, Montmorency and Oscoda counties in Michigan. AllBand Communications Cooperative provided $4,237,817 to complete the project.
“USDA is committed to increasing connectivity throughout rural Michigan,” said USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan Brandon Fewins. “Now is an excellent time for communities to contact us and see how we create new opportunities for growth and prosperity.”
A full list of projects from today’s announcement is available online.
Background: ReConnect Program
Applicants to ReConnect Program funding must serve a rural 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. Additionally, to ensure that rural households that need internet service can afford it, all awardees will be required to apply to participate in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP offers a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service to qualifying low-income households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal Lands.
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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