U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director in Minnesota Colleen Landkamer today announced $48.5 million in grants and loans to connect thousands of rural residents, farmers and business owners in rural Minnesota to reliable, affordable high-speed internet.
“High-speed internet connects business owners to customers and markets in other parts of the state, around the country and throughout the world,” said Landkamer. “It also expands educational opportunities for students and enables people to get access to medical care without leaving their home. The ReConnect program helps to build high-speed internet infrastructure that will bring new opportunities to people in underserved areas of our state, and throughout the nation, that makes it easier for them to share innovative ideas with the rest of the world. We are excited to see what that means for folks right here in Minnesota.”
Under President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $65 billion to connect everyone to high-speed internet through the Internet for All initiative. USDA is connecting more people to high-speed internet in this fourth funding round of the ReConnect Program. 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.
Investments being highlighted today, include:
- Johnson Telephone Company Inc. will connect nearly 1,000 people, 13 farms, and 30 businesses to high-speed internet in Cass County.
- MiEnergy Cooperative will connect more than 1,000 people, 148 farms, and nine businesses to high-speed internet in Fillmore County.
- Meeker Cooperative Light & Power Association will connect nearly 500 people, 124 farms, 16 businesses, and one educational facility to high-speed internet in Kandiyohi, Meeker and Stearns counties.
Today’s investments in Minnesota are in coordination with the recent announcement made by U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, that highlights $714 million in USDA investments in 19 states: Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Washington. For more information, please view a full listing of projects.
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 towards internet service to qualifying low-income households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal Lands.
For assistance with or questions regarding any of USDA’s high-speed internet programs, please contact a Minnesota General Field Representative.
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.
Contact USDA Rural Development
USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.8 million residents living in rural Minnesota. Office locations include a state office in Alexandria, Baxter, Bemidji, Cambridge, Detroit Lakes, Faribault, Marshall, St. Paul, Thief River Falls, Willmar, and Worthington.
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