Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched a new toolkit to help support the deployment of high-speed broadband e-Connectivity in rural communities.
“High-speed broadband e-Connectivity is becoming more and more essential to doing business, delivering health care, and, for schoolchildren, doing homework in rural communities,” Hazlett said. “This user-friendly tool will help rural customers find the many resources USDA has available to support the expansion and use of e-Connectivity in rural America.”
The e-Connectivity Toolkit features 27 USDA programs that support broadband deployment. The easy-to-use resource is a simple guide that allows customers to identify their type of e-Connectivity project and locate resources the federal government offers for planning, equipment, construction, research and other e-Connectivity projects. “This toolkit is an excellent roadmap for Colorado’s rural communities to research and find necessary funding for broadband services. Broadband is an essential connection for economic development, education, healthcare and business prosperity in our rural communities,” said Sallie Clark, USDA Rural Development Colorado State Director.
Resources such as grants, loans and technical assistance are available from multiple Mission Areas at USDA, including Rural Development, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Forest Service. The toolkit highlights examples of how e-Connectivity resources are being used to increase access to broadband services in rural communities. It is free and available to the public online, and can be easily printed for offline use.
USDA’s launch of the e-Connectivity Toolkit closely follows Secretary Sonny Perdue’s unveiling of the ReConnect Program, a pilot program authorized by the Consolidated Budget Act of 2018, to facilitate broadband deployment in rural areas that lack sufficient access to broadband.
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 facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.