HARRISBURG – US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the department has started accepting requests for up to $ 1.15 billion in loans and grants to help people in rural areas access the internet broadband.
Eligible candidates are state, local or territorial governments; companies; Native American tribes; limited liability companies and cooperative organizations.
The announcement follows the recent enactment of the bipartite infrastructure law, which provides nearly $ 2 billion in additional funding for the ReConnect program. The USDA plans to issue a new funding opportunity notice to make the additional funds from the bipartisan infrastructure law available in 2022.
âHigh speed internet is the new electricity,â said Vilsack. âIt must be reliable, affordable and accessible to everyone. The funding that USDA is making available – through the current application process and through the nearly $ 2 billion in additional funding that will be provided for this program through the bipartisan infrastructure act – will go a long way towards achieving this goal in the near future. rural America. These are just two of the latest investments in historic infrastructure from the Biden-Harris administration. Expanding the availability of broadband in rural areas will help create jobs, help farmers use precision farming technologies, expand access to health care and educational services, and creating economic opportunities for millions of rural Americans across the country.