The Trump Administration today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $86 million in rural broadband service for 17,000 people and businesses in eight states.
“Access to high-speed broadband internet, or e-Connectivity, is a cornerstone of prosperity anywhere, but especially in America’s rural communities,” said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand. “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. Below are examples of projects that USDA is funding through the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program:
- The Ardmore Telephone Company Inc. is receiving a $20 million loan to install 435 miles of Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) in Ardmore, New Market and Elkmont, Ala.; and in Minor Hill and McBurg in Tennessee.
- The Pulaski-White Rural Telephone Cooperative is receiving a $19 million loan to install 355 miles of Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) technology in the Buffalo and Star City exchanges in Indiana.
- In Wisconsin, the Chibardun Telephone Cooperative Inc. is receiving a $10 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.