U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

USDA Rural Development Obligates Funds to Star Communications

Robert Kerns
Release Date

Rural Development Invests $24.9 Million to Assist Expansion of Fast, Affordable, & Reliable High-Speed Internet to Rural N.C.

ELIZABETHTOWN, N.C., October 30, 2023 – State Director Reginald Speight and members of North Carolina Rural Development Team participated in an obligation of funds-signing ceremony-with Star Communications, in Elizabethtown, today.

Rural Development is investing $24.9 million through a USDA ReConnect Grant to expand fast, affordable, reliable high-speed internet to socially vulnerable communities of Bladen, Columbus, and Sampson Counties.

This network will benefit:

  • 2,674 people
  • 84 businesses
  • 117 farms
  • 4 educational facilities

“This rural area of North Carolina has waited and sacrificed too long to receive a service that has become essential for families and business in our country,” said Speight. “One of the first public events I participated in when I took my job with USDA was obligating $2.4 million to Star Communications to assist them expand the availability of internet into Sampson County. I am proud to represent the Biden-Harris Administration as we continue our partnership with Star Communications with continued expansion into Bladen, Sampson and Columbus Counties with this $24.9 million ReConnect Grant.”

Star Telephone Membership Corporation will make high-speed internet affordable by participating in the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Programs.


Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans 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, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, promoting competition and 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 www.usda.gov.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lenders