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USDA announces third round of 2022 ReConnect broadband funding

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the USDA is providing additional funding for rural high-speed broadband projects. He says, “We’re here to announce a 759 million dollar investment in 49 awards in 29 states across the country.”

Secretary Vilsack says this is the third round of grants and loans through the USDA Re-Connect Program. “And to date, we’ve announced a total investment of 1.6 billion dollars in this calendar year 2022, 101 projects.”

White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitchell Landrieu says rural America has gone too long without basic resources like affordable, reliable high-speed internet. “We all know how essential the Internet is in order to access life-saving telemedicine, to tap into economic opportunity, to connect with loved ones, to work on precision agriculture, and so much more. That’s just beyond unacceptable that that’s not available in rural America.”

Vilsack says the money comes from the Re-Connect Program along with 468 million dollars from the bipartisan infrastructure law.  He says additional rounds are coming. “Over the course of round four, that will all be bipartisan infrastructure law resources. We’ll have a round five in calendar year 2023 and that will be from appropriated resources in our regular budgeting process, so it’s a combination of resources.”

Landrieu says one of two Illinois fiber-to-the-premises projects connects over 500 farms. “26.5 million is going to Shelby Electrical Cooperative, Inc. in Illinois to deploy a network that connects over four thousand people, 61 businesses, 511 farms, and two educational facilities to high-speed internet in Christian, Cumberland, Effingham, Fayette, Montgomery, Moultrie, and Shelby counties in Illinois.”

This round of the ReConnect program is funding Midwestern broadband projects including two in Arkansas, two in Iowa, two in Illinois, one in Kansas, two in Kentucky, four in Michigan, two in Minnesota, four in Missouri, one in South Dakota, and six in Oklahoma.

        

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