Wisconsin Rural Development State Director Frank Frassetto announced today 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 for 22,000 subscribers.
“E-Connectivity is critical for rural residents, businesses and communities to remain vital and succeed in today’s market place.” Frassetto said. “USDA will continue to cultivate public-private partnerships and leverage investment in modern telecommunication technologies to assist rural communities that lack this essential infrastructure to improve rural prosperity.”
USDA is making the investments through the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program and the Community Connect Grant Program. In Cameron, Wis., Chibardun Telephone Cooperative, Inc. is receiving a $21.4 million loan to improve outside plant facilities in four (Almena, Cameron, Dallas and Ridgeland) of its six exchanges. It will construct 675 miles of fiber-to-the-premises and install associated electronics. It plans to build a fiber-to-the-home network capable of sustaining customer demands in broadband connectivity for the foreseeable future. Chibardun serves Barron and Dunn counties. Approximately 2,700 subscribers will receive improved service because of this loan.
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. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/wi.