US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Thursday that the department is providing $502 million in loans and grants to provide high-speed internet access to rural residents and businesses in 20 states.
“President Biden’s commitment to bringing high-speed internet to rural communities is fundamental to ensuring that the national economy continues to grow from the bottom up and down the middle,” Vilsack said. “High-speed Internet will improve the rural economy. It will help rural businesses grow and access new markets. It will help rural residents gain access to more and better health care and educational opportunities. The USDA knows that rural America is America’s backbone, and prosperity here means prosperity for everyone.
USDA awards 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 awards will help rural people and businesses on tribal lands and people from socially vulnerable communities.
The USDA has so far announced $858 million in ReConnect’s third round of funding and expects to make further investment announcements under this program in the coming weeks. Thursday’s 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 get high-speed Internet access.