Texas and California, along with Iowa and Illinois, will receive loans to help provide broadband service to rural populations.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that USDA is making those loans, totaling $43.6 million, available in hopes that better internet access can stimulate rural economies.
“Too many rural areas still lack access to robust, affordable broadband services that can create jobs and boost rural economies,” Perdue said. “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.”
USDA’s partnerships with more than 500 telecommunications providers across the country fund broadband infrastructure investments that are uniquely designed to meet the specific needs of each rural community. These projects connect residents, businesses, health care facilities and community facilities – including schools, libraries and first responders – to the internet.
The $43.6 million announced today will add nearly 1,000 miles of fiber to fund broadband service. The funding will be used as follows:
- USDA is awarding a $24.8 million loan to the Central Texas Telephone Cooperative, Inc. to construct 568 miles of fiber and install equipment upgrades in seven of its 17 exchanges.
- California’s Ducor Telephone Co. is receiving a $9 million loan to construct 67 miles of fiber and update equipment to improve quality, functionality and network reliability.
- In Iowa, the Coon Valley Cooperative Telephone Association will use a $6.5 million loan to construct 216 miles of fiber to improve access to advanced telecommunications services.
- Illinois’ Viola Home Telephone Co. will use a $3.3 million loan to construct 104 miles of fiber cable and provide supporting equipment to deliver enhanced telecommunications services to its rural subscribers.
USDA is providing these loans through Rural Development’s Telecommunications Program. This program funds infrastructure and equipment to deliver broadband and distance learning and telemedicine services throughout rural America.
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; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.