Access to high-speed internet is not as much of a certainty for rural Americans as it is for those in urban areas. The United States Department of Agriculture is continuing its push to make high speed internet more readily available for those in areas outside of urban centers. On Thursday August 4th the USDA announced the department will begin accepting applications on September 6th for funding to expand access to high-speed internet for millions of people in rural America nationwide. United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Under Secretary, Xochitl Torres Small, says that high speed internet access is just as important to those in rural communities as it is in more populated areas.
USDA is making additional funding available for high-speed internet in Round 4 of the ReConnect Program. The Department will begin accepting applications on September 6th for up to $150 million in loans, up to $300 million in loan/grant combinations, and up to $700 million in grants. The Department will use funds appropriated under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Faster internet speeds are becoming more important in the agriculture sector with the increase of technology reliant on high-speed connectivity.
To ensure that rural households that need internet service can afford it, all awardees under this funding round will be required to apply to participate in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Affordable Connectivity Program. The program offers a discount towards internet service to qualifying low-income households and for households on qualifying Tribal Lands.
To learn more about investment resources for rural areas, visit www.rd.usda.gov.