Projects will Expand Business, Economic Development and Educational Opportunities
STEVENS POINT, Wis., June 24, 2020 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Wisconsin State Director Frank Frassetto announced that the department is investing $86 million in rural broadband service for 17,000 people and businesses in eight states through the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program.
“Access to high-speed broadband internet is critical to ensure prosperity anywhere, but especially in America’s rural communities,” Frassetto said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to using all available tools and resources to increase e-Connectivity across rural America because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
USDA is providing loans to six telecommunications providers to build, expand and improve broadband services in Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
In Wisconsin, the Chibardun Telephone Cooperative Inc. is receiving a $10.2 million loan to install 328.5 miles of Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) to serve the rural areas of the Prairie Farm and Sand Creek exchanges.
Since October 2019, USDA has invested $744 million to bring high-speed broadband e-Connectivity to 172,000 households, 19,000 rural small businesses and farms, and more than 500 health care centers, educational facilities and critical community facilities in 34 states.
The Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program is one of several USDA rural broadband programs. On April 20, 2020, USDA announced the department has received 172 applications for $1.57 billion in round two of the ReConnect Pilot Program. The second round will enable USDA to implement innovative new solutions to rural connectivity by leveraging financial options with our partners and continuing the success of the first round of funding. The application window for round two closed on April 15.
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/wi.
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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.