USDA invests in rural broadband


USDA invests in rural broadband

Tim Hammerich

This is Tim Hammerich from the Ag Information Network with your Farm of the Future report.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the department is providing $502 million in loans and grants to provide high-speed Internet access in 20 states. Funding will be available for residents and businesses in rural America.

Vilsack…”The opportunity for families, businesses, schools, and healthcare facilities to have the latest and greatest in technology so they can access distance learning or telemedicine, business opportunities, and needs of families with this very important 21st century technology.Today, many parts of the country still have limited Internet access in terms of download and upload speeds that simply do not support multiple uses in the home, do not distance learning, telemedicine, do not allow companies to expand market opportunities and would not give farmers the opportunity to practice precision agriculture.

The USDA is making the investments under the third round of funding for the ReConnect program. Vilsack said the fourth round will be available soon.

Vilsack… “These resources are split between loans and grants, with approximately $141 million in loans and approximately $360 million in grants. We anticipate and expect additional announcements in the very near future to add to this total. As a reminder, we initially had $1.15 billion available under the third round of the ReConnect program. We plan to announce the rest of this program very soon. We would also like to remind people of the fact that the application process for the fourth round under the bipartisan Infrastructure Act is still open and will remain so until November 2.

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