U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development West Virginia State Director Kris Warner today announced that USDA is investing $3 million to improve rural broadband service in Hampshire County.
“Deploying high-speed broadband internet connectivity, or ‘e-Connectivity,’ in rural America expands access to essential health, educational, social and business opportunities,” Warner said. “President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue are committed to fully utilizing all resources Congress provides for building and modernizing this critical infrastructure in rural America, because we believe that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
USDA is making the investments through the Community Connect Grant Program. Investing in telecommunications infrastructure connects people to each other: businesses to customers, farmers to markets, and students to a world of knowledge. Hardy Telecommunications, Inc. will use a $3,000,000 Community Connect Grant to construct a 56-mile Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network passing 600 establishments located in the Carpers Pike, Hampshire County, West Virginia service area. This network will support service at levels up to one gigabit per second for each subscriber. This broadband network will provide significant benefits to residents of the service area by improving their economic, educational access and quality of life. A community center will be established in a facility within the proposed funding service area, where residents can access the Internet free of charge for at least two years.
Speaking of the project, State Director Warner said, “Broadband is an essential tool for businesses, residents and public institutions to be competitive and prosperous in a 21st century, global economy.” Mr. Warner went on to say, “Investing in broadband creates jobs when projects are built, adds jobs when these projects become operational, and adds jobs as broadband services are used by communities.”
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a cornerstone recommendation of the task force.
To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).
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 services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.