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Success Stories

USDA ReConnect Is Paving the Way for a More Connected and Prosperous Future for All Residents

Stephanie Bittiker
High Speed Internet
Administistrator Andrew Berke Speaking At Bamberg, S.C. ReConnect Event

Columbia, S.C., February 9, 2024 - Last fall, the Rural Utilities Service Administrator Andrew Berke visited Bamberg, South Carolina, to announce a significant $24 million investment through the ReConnect Program for broadband infrastructure enhancements in Orangeburg and Bamberg counties. This initiative allocated $12 million in grant funding to each county.

The project's completion will bring high-speed internet access to more than 4,155 individuals, 172 businesses, 72 farms, and 13 educational institutions in Orangeburg County. By participating in the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program, the County aims to make high-speed internet more affordable for its residents.

In Bamberg County, approximately 210 miles of buried fiber will be installed in the eastern region, potentially serving around 2,625 subscribers. This funding will not only benefit businesses by enabling them to reach customers locally and globally but also enhance educational opportunities for students and provide rural residents with access to medical care from the comfort of their homes, eliminating the need for long hours of travel for healthcare services. Ultimately, this endeavor is set to enhance the quality of life for individuals residing in these underserved areas.

The ReConnect Program plays a crucial role by offering loans and grants to develop, enhance, or acquire infrastructure and equipment necessary to deliver high-speed internet services in eligible rural regions, focusing on the most challenging projects nationwide, particularly in the most remote and unserved communities. This program has been instrumental in bridging the digital divide for many rural residents and businesses, providing them with essential internet access. South Carolina has been a beneficiary of over $67.1 million in ReConnect funding, supporting seven projects spread across the state.

The ReConnect Program is a federal initiative aimed at improving broadband infrastructure in underserved areas across the United States. Orangeburg and Bamberg counties in South Carolina are set to benefit from this program, which will bring much-needed enhancements to their broadband networks. By investing in these infrastructure upgrades, residents and businesses in these counties will have better access to high-speed internet, enabling them to participate more fully in the digital economy.

The improvements funded by the ReConnect Program will not only enhance internet connectivity but also support economic development, education, healthcare, and overall quality of life in Orangeburg and Bamberg counties. Reliable broadband access is essential for businesses to thrive, students to excel in online learning, and individuals to access telehealth services. By bridging the digital divide in these communities, the ReConnect Program is paving the way for a more connected and prosperous future for all residents.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs, and improve the quality of live 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.

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