The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Office in South Dakota today announced that USDA is investing $16 million in an infrastructure project to bring broadband to areas in rural South Dakota. James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company based in Groton, was awarded the federal funds to install more than 200 miles of fiber-optic cable. The FTTP network will serve more than 2,600 establishments and provide better telecommunications services and faster broadband speeds.
The announcement comes as part of Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett’s national announcement today in West Virginia that USDA is investing more than $200 million in infrastructure projects to bring broadband to hundreds of unserved and underserved rural communities.
“Broadband infrastructure is vital to our economy and quality of life in rural America. Yet, today nearly 40 percent of rural residents and businesses lack access to the same quality service available in urban centers,” Hazlett said. “Under Secretary Perdue’s leadership, USDA is working hard to bridge this gap. From access to health care to workforce training and connection to global markets, broadband is truly a lifeline to prosperity in rural communities.”
Hazlett announced that USDA is awarding grants in West Virginia, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, as well as loans to expand broadband in rural areas. The loans will provide new or improved broadband access for more than 71,000 residents and businesses in 74 counties in rural parts of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
These awards are being financed through USDA’s Telecommunications Program, which has provided financial assistance to more than 500 telecommunications providers nationwide. USDA is announcing $207 million in loans and grants today.
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; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.