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Rural communities receive nearly $800M for high-speed internet

Robin Layton

Oct 31, 2022 — 2 min read

Man looks at laptop while on truck tailgate in a farm field.

In conjunction with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, 24 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and Palau are getting millions of dollars in federal grants and loans for high-speed internet.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced this week that the $759 million in loans and grants will come from the third funding round of the ReConnect Program.

According to the USDA press release, the recipients include:

  • North Carolina’s AccessOn Networks Inc.: $17.5 million grant to connect thousands of people, 100 businesses, 76 farms and 22 educational facilities to high-speed internet in Halifax and Warren counties in North Carolina. This project will serve communities in Halifax and Warren counties and people in the Haliwa-Saponi Tribal Statistical Area.
  • Tekstar Communications: Receiving a $12.6 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect thousands of people, 171 farms, 103 businesses and an educational facility to high-speed internet in Douglas, Otter Tail, St. Louis, Stearns and Todd counties in Minnesota. 
  • Colorado: Eastern Slope Rural Telephone Association is receiving an $18.7 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network connecting thousands of people, 898 farms, 110 businesses and 17 educational facilities to high-speed internet in Adams, Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Crowley, Elbert, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Lincoln and Washington counties. 

The USDA is also making 49 awards in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wyoming, Puerto Rico, Guam and Palau. This list includes awards to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, and the utility authorities for the Navajo Nation and the Tohono O’odham Nation.

The federal government is working to bridge the digital divide of internet accessibility and affordability that exists in the U.S.

This round of funding follows September’s in which 20 states received grants and loans to connect rural areas, Tribal lands and schools.

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) was also started this year to help get high-speed internet to low-income homes.

The program provides a discount of up to $30/mo. (and up to $75/mo. for households on qualifying Tribal lands) as well as a one-time $100 discount toward a laptop, desktop computer or tablet. The ACP partners with many internet service providers (ISPs) across the country who created $30 and under plans with a minimum of 100 Mbps download speed – fast enough for a family of four to video conference, stream videos and more.

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Robin Layton

Written by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

Robin Layton is an editor with Allconnect. She works closely with the content team writers to ensure consumers get a fair and balanced reporting of the state of broadband services to help them understand the pro… Read more

Camryn Smith

Edited by:

Camryn Smith

Associate Writer

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