HARRISBURG – U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the department has begun accepting applications for up to $1.15 billion in loans and grants to help people in rural areas get access to high-speed internet.
Eligible applicants are state, local or territory governments; corporations; Native American Tribes; limited liability companies and cooperative organizations.
This announcement comes on the heels of the recently enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides another nearly $2 billion in additional funding for the ReConnect program. USDA anticipates issuing a new Notice of Funding Opportunity to make the additional funds in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law available in 2022.
“High-speed internet is the new electricity,” Vilsack said. “It must be reliable, affordable and available to everyone. The funding USDA is making available — through the current application process and through the nearly $2 billion in additional funding that will be provided for this program by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — will go a long way toward reaching this goal in rural America. These are just two of the latest of many historic infrastructure investments the Biden-Harris Administration is making. Expanding broadband availability in rural areas will help create jobs, help farmers use precision agriculture technologies, expand access to health care and educational services, and create economic opportunities for millions of rural Americans across the country.”