Funding Will Provide High-Speed Internet Access to People, Schools, and Businesses in Baker, Grant, and Malheur Counties
PORTLAND, Ore., Sept. 22, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director Margi Hoffmann today announced that the Department is awarding over $20.4 million via loan and grant to Oregon Telephone Corporation to provide high-speed internet access for rural residents and businesses in Eastern Oregon. This Rural Development investment will be used to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network, which will connect nearly 1,200 people, 41 businesses, 70 farms, and four educational facilities to high-speed internet in Baker, Grant, and Malheur counties when completed. Oregon Telephone Corporation will also make high-speed internet affordable by participating in the Federal Communication Commission's Affordable Connectivity Program and the Oregon Telephone Assistance Program, including Oregon Lifeline.
“The Biden-Harris Administration understands that high-speed internet is now more important than ever for rural communities,” Hoffmann said. “Whether it’s expanding distance learning for students in Nyssa, bringing quality telehealth care to seniors in Prairie City, or simply making sure that a feed store in Halfway can run debit card transactions, connection is key to rural prosperity. With this new investment, USDA is one step closer to bridging the digital divide for all Oregonians.”
USDA is making the investments through the third funding round of the ReConnect Program. The Department will make additional investments for rural high-speed internet in the coming months, including funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a historic $65 billion investment to expand affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the U.S.
USDA has announced $858 million in the third round of ReConnect funding so far and plans to make more Oregon investment announcements under this program in the coming weeks. Today’s announcement follows the Department’s July 28 announcement that it has invested $356 million through the ReConnect Program to help very rural residents and businesses in 11 states gain access to high-speed internet.
To learn more about ReConnect and other programs, visit www.usda.gov. For more USDA Rural Development updates, follow USDA RD Oregon on Twitter @RD_Oregon or visit USDA RD’s GovDelivery subscriber page.
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