ST. PAUL, Minn., Feb. 16, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Minnesota State Director Colleen Landkamer today announced an investment of $10 million to bring high-speed internet access to people living and working in rural Minnesota. Today’s investments include funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a historic $65 billion to expand reliable, affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the U.S.
“It’s important to ensure that people with all backgrounds and experiences have access to opportunities for building brighter futures in rural America,” Landkamer said. “Today’s funding is going to connect nearly 3,400 rural people, businesses, farms and schools with high-speed internet that will connect them to new markets and educational tools for generations to come.”
Funding for today’s investment comes from the third funding round of the ReConnect Program, in which USDA invested a total of $1.7 billion.
- Paul Bunyan Rural Telephone Cooperative is receiving a $10 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network in Minnesota. The network will connect 3,529 people, 71 businesses, 35 farms and two public schools to high-speed internet in Hubbard, Itasca and St. Louis counties.
Today’s investment is in coordination with a nationwide announcement made by U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack that USDA is investing $63 million through the ReConnect Program to bring high-speed internet access to rural residents and workers in Illionis, Michigan, Minnesota and Mississippi. Since the beginning of the ReConnect Program, USDA has invested $3.2 billion to bring high-speed internet access to people in rural communities across the country - $23.7 million in Minnesota alone.
To be eligible for ReConnect Program funding, an applicant must serve an area that lacks access to service at speeds of 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 with speeds of 100 Mbps (download and upload) to every location in its 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.
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/mn.
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