The funding will enable four providers to offer FTTH services to thousands of people in areas where broadband options have traditionally been limited.
WASHINGTON — US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the department is investing $63 million to provide high-speed enable internet access. Today’s investments include funds from President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, which provides a historic $65 billion to expand reliable, affordable, high-speed Internet to all communities across the United States
“Investing in high-speed internet is a fundamental part of our partnership with rural communities,” said Secretary of State Vilsack. “Connecting rural Americans to reliable Internet brings new and innovative ideas to the rest of our country. Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is committed to ensuring that the people who make up the rich tapestry in rural areas have every opportunity to thrive — and that people can find those opportunities right at home in their communities.”
The $63 million in grants comes from the third round of funding from the ReConnect program, in which the USDA has invested $1.7 billion. Since the ReConnect program began, the department has invested $3.2 billion to bring high-speed internet access to people in rural communities across the country.
The four funded projects are:
McDonough Telephone Cooperative Receives $18 Million Grant to Build Fiber Optic Network to Illinois Site The network will connect 1,583 people, 274 farms and 41 businesses in Hancock, Henderson, McDonough and Warren counties to high-speed internet. The company will make Internet access affordable through the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity programs. Alpha Enterprises Limited, Inc. is awarded a $19.5 million grant to build a fiber optic network that will connect 1,023 people, 19 businesses and 10 farms in Chippewa and Mackinac Counties, Michigan to high-speed Internet. Alpha Enterprises Limited, Inc. will make high-speed Internet affordable through the FCC Affordable Connectivity and Lifeline programs. The project will serve underprivileged communities in Mackinac County. Paul Bunyan Rural Telephone Cooperative Receives $10 Million Grant to Build Fiber Optic Network to Minnesota Premises. The network will connect 3,529 people, 71 businesses, 35 farms and two public schools in Hubbard, Itasca and St. Louis counties to high-speed Internet. Uplink Internet LLC Receives $15 Million Grant to Build Fiber-to-Home Network in Mississippi. This network will connect 2,340 people, 143 farms, 45 businesses and a public school in Coahoma, Quitman and Tunica counties to high-speed Internet. It will also serve vulnerable communities in those counties, supported by the Rural Partners Network, an intergovernmental initiative that combines federal, state, and local resources to meet specific needs in rural and tribal communities across the country.