Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $97 million in 12 projects to provide or improve rural broadband service in 11 states. One of the projects will help construct a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) system to residential and business subscribers in and around the town of Andrew, Iowa, population 434, in Jackson County.
“A person’s location should not determine whether he or she has access to modern communications infrastructure,” Secretary Perdue said. “That is why USDA is partnering with businesses and communities by investing in state-of-the-art broadband e-connectivity to remote and rural areas. These investments will expand access to educational, social and business opportunities for 22,000 subscribers to help grow their rural communities and America’s economy.”
USDA is making the investments through the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program and the Community Connect Grant Program.
Andrew Telephone Company, Andrew, Iowa, is receiving a $2,748,000 loan to help construct a full FTTP system. The company will replace all of its copper loops with fiber-optic lines. It will deploy 71 route miles of buried and underground fiber optic facilities, and install new, active FTTP electronics. Approximately 230 residential and business subscribers in and around the town of Andrew will benefit from enhanced services such as internet protocol television and higher-speed broadband internet.
The projects USDA is investing in today will help improve the quality of life in rural communities in Arizona, Iowa, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
These investments underscore USDA’s priority to promote rural economic development by centering around three principles: infrastructure, partnerships and innovation. Investing in telecommunications infrastructure connects people to each other: businesses to customers, farmers to markets, and students to a world of knowledge.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. As proven by the report, e-connectivity is more than just connecting rural America to rest of the world. It is a vital tool for productivity, education, and health care. These investments will be key catalysts for facilitating rural prosperity through economic development and workforce readiness, and for improving quality of life.
To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.
Contact USDA Rural Development
Information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by visiting www.rd.usda.gov/ia or by calling (515) 284-4663.
USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities and areas. Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.