Rural Oklahoma could get high-speed internet through program

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More rural Oklahomans could finally get high-speed internet access thanks to a billion-dollar program. One of the lawmakers tasked with developing a funding package for broadband expansion said he wants broadband to reach 95% of Oklahomans within five years. million in COVID-19 relief money to be spent on the effort and said counting other programs the state is eligible for, more than $1.5 billion could be spent on the effort. “Without having this accessible utility, these small towns will continue what has been a 50-year trend of drying up and people moving into metropolitan areas,” Paxton said. Paxton said access is so much more than just going online. “In their hometowns, who want to live in a rural community, they can now work from home if they have access,” said Kenneth Corn, USDA Rural Development Program The Biden administration and the USDA believe the reconnect program is a strong complement to wha What states are doing about broadband expansion Corn said the projects they approve must be completed within two to three years.”Applicants could be a tribe, a utility authority, electric cooperatives, it could be an internet service provider currently in the state,” said Horn.

More rural Oklahomans could finally get high-speed internet access thanks to a billion-dollar program.

The federal agriculture ministry has opened applications for loans and grants, but state leaders have said that’s only part of the bigger picture. One of the lawmakers tasked with developing a funding package for broadband expansion said he wants broadband to reach 95% of Oklahomans within five years.

State Senator Lonnie Paxton, who chairs a task force focused on connecting Oklahoma’s rural areas, expects $300 million to $500 million in COVID-19 relief money to be spent on the effort and said that counting other programs the state is eligible for, more than $1.5 billion could be spent on the effort.

“Without having this accessible utility, these small towns will continue what has been a 50-year trend of drying up and moving people to metropolitan areas,” Paxton said.

Paxton said access is more than just an online connection.

“And I think that will be a boost for people who want to stay in their hometown, who want to live in a rural community, they can now work from home if they have access to it,” said Kenneth Corn, development USDA Rural. .

The Biden administration and the USDA believe the reconnect program is a strong complement to what states are doing regarding broadband expansion. Corn said the projects they approve must be completed within two to three years.

“Candidates could be a tribe, could be a utility authority, power cooperatives, it could be an internet service provider that’s currently in the state,” Corn said.

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