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USDA Invests $2 Million to Improve Broadband Service for Rural Illinois

Chris Hart
Release Date

Today, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) State Director Douglas Wilson announced USDA invested $2 million, improving a high-speed broadband infrastructure project. This investment will create or enhance rural e-Connectivity for more than 400 rural households, in Jo Daviess County, Illinois. This project is one of many funding announcements in the Community Connect Grant Program.

“High-speed broadband is a critical part of rural communities’ and rural residents’ future. The ability to develop business connections, ensure access to real-time healthcare, and improve educational resources are just a few of the ways e-Connectivity improves rural Illinois’ quality of life. I congratulate Jo-Carroll Energy on this award and look forward to seeing more and more communities in Illinois connect the countryside,” Wilson said. 

Jo-Carroll Energy was awarded a $2 million Community Connect Grant by the USDA for a fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) internet project that will deliver high-speed, reliable broadband internet service to a rural area in Jo Daviess County.

Sand Prairie, JCE’s broadband division, will use the $2,053,815 in grant funds to construct 25 miles of aerial and underground mainline fiber and 32 miles of drop fiber to 420 premises. The premises are located primarily on the northern and northeastern side of Lake Galena. Two network operations center (NOC) facilities that house electronics are included.

Construction anticipated beginning in the third or fourth quarter of 2020.



USDA is making the investments through the Community Connect Grant Program. Investing in telecommunications infrastructure connects people: businesses to customers, farmers to markets, and students to a world of knowledge. These grants, loans, and combination funds enable the federal government to partner with the private sector and rural communities to build modern broadband infrastructure in areas with insufficient internet service. Inadequate service defined as connection speeds of less than ten megabits per second (Mbps) download and 1 Mbps upload.

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 crucial recommendation of the task force. To view the Report in its entirety, please see the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). Also, to view the categories of the recommendations, please see 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 facilities such as schools, public safety, and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.