Today, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Arkansas State Director, David Branscum, announced the Southwest Arkansas Telephone Cooperative is receiving a $10 million loan to upgrade portions of the network to 100 percent Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH). The improvements provided by this project will provide subscribers in Fouke and Garland, Arkansas with access to higher speed (up to 1 gigabit symmetrical) broadband service, as well as improved voice and video services. Southwest Arkansas Telephone Cooperative expects to serve 4,612 subscribers.
“Access to high-speed broadband internet is a cornerstone of prosperity in rural Arkansas” said USDA Rural Development State Director David Branscum. “USDA is committed to using all available tools and resources to increase e-Connectivity across rural America.”
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. This project is an example of the projects that USDA is funding through the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program.
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.
If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.