High-speed broadband access – or lack thereof – is a modern pain point for many rural Americans. USDA announced it is awarding four loans with the intent to boost broadband service in rural portions of four U.S. states.
“Too many rural areas still lack access to robust, affordable broadband services that can create jobs and boost rural economies,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says. “These broadband infrastructure investments will connect rural communities to a digital future and will help expand access to high-speed internet, health care, educational and business services in rural communities.
The $43.6 million in loans is expected to add nearly 1,000 miles of fiber in parts of rural California, Illinois, Iowa and Texas. Funding includes:
- $24.8 million to the Central Texas Telephone Cooperative, Inc., for building 568 miles of fiber and equipment upgrades.
- $9 million to California’s Ducor Telephone Co. to build 57 miles of fiber and equipment upgrades.
- $6.5 million to Iowa’s Coon Valley Cooperative Telephone Association to build 216 miles of fiber.
- $3.3 million to the Illinois Viola Home Telephone Co. to build 104 miles of fiber for rural subscribers.
USDA provides the loans through its Rural Development’s Telecommunications Program. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.