(KFOR Lincoln September 24, 2022) U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Friday today announced that the department is awarding $502 million in loans and grants to provide high-speed internet access for rural residents and businesses in 20 states. The funding is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to investing in rural infrastructure and providing reliable, affordable, high-speed internet for all. USDA is making the investments through the third funding round of the ReConnect Program. The department will make additional investments for rural high-speed internet in the coming months, including funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a historic $65 billion investment to expand affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the U.S.
USDA is making 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 of the awards will help rural people and businesses on tribal lands and people in socially vulnerable communities.
In Nebraska and Kansas, a $6,319,640 Rural Development investment will be used to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 704 people, 17 businesses, and 225 farms to high-speed internet in Jackson, Nemaha, Pottawatomie, Republic, Washington, and Riley counties in Kansas, as well as Jefferson and Thayer counties in Nebraska. JBN Telephone Company Inc. will make high-speed internet affordable by participating in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity and Lifeline programs by providing low-income consumers who qualify up to $30 in monthly service credit.