According to the department’s announcement on Thursday, 49 high-speed internet projects in 24 states and other territories would get grants and loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture totaling nearly $759 million.
More than $15 million of the total will be used for projects in Minnesota.
The government money comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and is a component of the department’s ReConnect Program. The initiative aims to increase broadband connectivity, mainly in rural regions, to 100 megabits per second download rates.
During a conference call with reporters, US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack stated, “This truly is vitally crucial for the future of rural America.” “The internet — high-speed internet — is critically vital, whether it’s for distant learning chances for our students, telemedicine for hospitals and physicians, market expansion for our small enterprises, or precision agriculture for our farmers.”
The new money is made up of grants totaling roughly $668 million and loans amounting to around $91 million. It was the biggest ReConnect announcement to yet and the third of this year. According to Vilsack, there will be further announcements later this year and in 2023.
The entire amount of grants and loans awarded so far is over $1.6 billion.
The loan to Public Service Telephone Company for a fiber project in seven Georgia counties, which would connect 21,289 individuals, 569 companies, 323 farms, and 29 educational sites, is the largest overall award, totaling $36 million.