U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Oklahoma State Director, Kenneth Corn, announced today more than $50 million in grants and loans to connect thousands of rural residents, farmers and business owners in eastern Oklahoma and the Panhandle to reliable and affordable high-speed internet.
Connecting all communities across the United States to high-speed internet is a central part of President Biden’s Investing in America plan to rebuild the American economy from the bottom up and middle out by rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, which is driving more than $470 billion in private sector manufacturing investments and creating quality paying jobs. More than $700 million will be made available across the country for establishing high-speed internet connections across rural America.
“High-speed internet connections are becoming essential for businesses, hospitals and schools to conduct day-to-day business in rural Oklahoma,” Corn said. “Broadband expansion is such a critical need here in Oklahoma to keep our rural communities connected and providing rural Oklahomans the same opportunities for economic growth as their peers in urban areas. Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are seeing his promise to rural Oklahoma delivered to rebuild our economy.”
Under the President’s Investing in America agenda, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $65 billion to connect everyone to high-speed internet through the Internet for All initiative. USDA is connecting more people to high-speed internet in this fourth funding round of the ReConnect Program. Since the beginning of the Biden-Harris Administration, the Department has invested in 142 ReConnect projects that will bring high-speed internet access to 314,000 rural Americans.
Today’s announcement includes more than $50 million in USDA investments in Oklahoma for:
- Panhandle Telephone Cooperative, which will receive a $21.665 million grant and $21.665 million loan to provide high-speed internet in the Oklahoma Panhandle and Eastern New Mexico
- Canadian Valley Telephone Company, which will receive a $4.997 million grant and $4.997 million loan to provide high-speed internet in eastern Oklahoma
“The positive impacts of these broadband investments will be felt by my fellow Oklahoma neighbors for decades to come,” Corn said. “More and more we are finding that essential services for healthcare, banking and education need to rely on high-speed internet to continue to afford our citizens the ability to utilize those services. I am grateful that the Biden-Harris Administration recognizes that not only do these commonsense investments generate economic opportunities, but also helps our rural communities to remain a place where families want to live, work, and continue to raise generations of future Oklahomans.”
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/ok.