U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director Frank Frassetto announced that USDA is investing $152 million in 20 projects to provide or improve rural broadband service in 14 states.
“This funding will expand broadband access by upgrading communications infrastructure to our underserved rural communities,” Frassetto said. “USDA is committed to be a strong partner in building and modernizing broadband in rural America, because we believe that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
USDA is making the investments through the Community Connect Grant Program, the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program and the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program. Investing in telecommunications infrastructure connects people to each other: businesses to customers, farmers to markets, and students to a world of knowledge.
In Wisconsin, Baldwin Telecom, Inc. will use a $8 million Telecommunications Program loan to provide Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTP) upgrades in the villages of Baldwin and Woodville. The system will foster business growth, enable families, and improve public safety services by providing higher-speed broadband capacity. More than 2,300 residential and business customers will benefit from this investment.
The projects USDA is investing in today will help improve the quality of life in rural communities in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
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. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a cornerstone recommendation of the task force.
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. In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic.
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.