FREELAND, Wash. — The Trump Administration has announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $596,000 to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas in the state of Washington. This investment is part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect Program.
“Broadband is a cornerstone to prosperity in Washington’s rural communities because it is essential to economic development, access to health care and educational opportunities, and connections to people and services,” USDA Washington State Director for Rural Development Kirk Pearson said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner in deploying this critical infrastructure in Washington State and across all of America’s rural communities, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
Whidbey Telecom will use a $596,000 ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect underserved residents and businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Point Roberts, Wash.
In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America. On Dec. 13, 2018, Secretary Perdue announced the rules of the program, called “ReConnect,” including how the loans and grants will be awarded to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America.
On April 20, 2020, USDA announced the Department has received 172 applications for $1.57 billion in Round Two of the ReConnect Program. The second round will enable USDA to implement innovative new solutions to rural connectivity by leveraging financial options with our partners and continuing the success of the first round of funding. The application window for Round Two closed on April 15, 2020.
In Round One of the ReConnect Program, USDA invested $698 million to bring high-speed broadband e-Connectivity to approximately 167,000 households, 17,000 rural small businesses and farms, and more than 500 health care centers, educational facilities and critical community facilities located in 33 states. To learn more about individual investments, read USDA’s Broadband ReConnect Program report (PDF, 4 MB).
USDA received 11 Round Two ReConnect Program applications that are eligible for the $100 million Congress allocated to the program through the CARES Act.
To learn more about ReConnect Program eligibility, technical assistance and recent announcements, visit www.usda.gov/reconnect.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
— USDA Rural Development
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