The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is investing $13.2 million to expand broadband infrastructure in underserved rural areas of Linn and Polk counties in Ore. announced State Director John Huffman today. This investment is part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect Program.
"The need for internet access, including in our rural communities, has never been more apparent than now when telehealth services, remote learning, and virtual business operations have all become necessary as a result of the coronavirus pandemic," said Huffman. "Today's funding will help these rural Oregon communities overcome the unique challenges they face with implementing large-scale infrastructure projects, enabling economic expansion and improved quality of life."
Casco Communications dba Peak Internet will use a $6.6 million grant and a $6.6 million loan provided through USDA's ReConnect Program to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect a 10.6-square-mile area of rural Linn and Polk counties in western Oregon. The funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of its loan and grant agreements.
Overall, this expanded fiber optic network will connect 5,265 households; 31 businesses; 13 farms, and 2 public schools to high-speed broadband, improving the quality of life for those who live and work in these rural communities.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing, community facilities such as schools, public safety, and health care facilities; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. Learn more at www.rd.usda.gov/or.