USDA Announces More Rural Broadband Investments

The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced investments into a $9.7 million high-speed broadband project in South Carolina. The project will create or improve rural connectivity for 3,900 rural households in the state, and is part of the USDA ReConnect Pilot Program. USDA last Friday announced the first investment in the program, funding a $2.8 million infrastructure project in Tennessee to improve broadband access for nearly 350 households. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says of the program, “We know that rural communities need robust, modern infrastructure to thrive, and that includes having access to broadband e-Connectivity.” In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America. Secretary Perdue announced the program in December 2018, called “ReConnect,” to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America. USDA received 146 applications this summer, requesting $1.4 billion in funding across all three ReConnect Program funding products: 100 percent loan, 100 percent grant, and loan-grant combinations.