The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $152 million in 19 rural broadband projects across 14 states. The USDA rural broadband funding projects are in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
“Deploying high-speed broadband internet connectivity, or ‘e-Connectivity,’ in rural America expands access to essential health, educational, social and business opportunities,” Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy said in a press release. “President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue are committed to fully utilizing all resources Congress provides for building and modernizing this critical infrastructure in rural America, because we believe that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
In eastern Kentucky, People’s Rural Telephone Cooperative Corporation (PRTC) will receive a $2.4 million Community Connect Grant which will be used to construct a 47.5-mile Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) network passing 269 residences, four businesses, and one essential community facility located in Primrose and Lee counties. This network will support service at levels up to 1 Gbps for each subscriber. This broadband network will provide significant benefits to Lee County by improving their economy, access to education and quality of life. A community center will be provided where residents can access the internet free of charge for at least two years.
These rural broadband investments flow from a few USDA rural development programs, including the Community Connect Grant Program, the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program and the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program.
Additional rural broadband funding from a different USDA program, the ReConnect Pilot Program, should be announced soon. That program will allocate $600 million for rural broadband projects. USDA has received 53 applications from rural areas across 33 states, representing 1,099 farms and 859 businesses.
A full list of these most recent funded projects may be found here.