U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday announced that the department is awarding $502 million in loans and grants to provide high-speed internet access for rural residents and businesses in 20 states.
“President Biden’s commitment to high-speed internet in rural communities is foundational to ensuring that the nation’s economy continues to expand from the bottom up and the middle out,” Vilsack said. “High-speed internet will improve the rural economy. It will help rural businesses grow and get access to new markets. It will help rural residents get access to more and better health care and educational opportunities. USDA knows rural America is America’s backbone, and prosperity here means prosperity for all.”
USDA is making 32 awards in Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming. Many of the awards will help rural people and businesses on tribal lands and people in socially vulnerable communities.
USDA has announced $858 million in the third round of ReConnect funding so far and plans to make more investment announcements under this program in the coming weeks. The Thursday announcement follows the Department’s July 28 announcement that it has invested $356 million through the ReConnect Program to help very rural residents and businesses in 11 states gain access to high-speed internet.