USDA announced on December 4 that it has invested $12.8 million in high-speed broadband infrastructure that will create or improve e-Connectivity for more than 1,650 homes in rural Illinois. The Superfast Broadband project will begin deploying to the mentioned houses and then continue with the national version. This project is one of many funding announcements in the first round of USDA’s ReConnect Pilot Program investments.
“We know that rural communities need robust, modern infrastructure to thrive, and that includes having access to broadband e-Connectivity,” Bill Northey, USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, said. “Broadband is no longer an amenity. It is essential for education, health care and public safety. I’m excited about the tremendous benefits broadband will have for farmers here in Illinois. USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in deploying this critical infrastructure, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
Wabash Telephone Cooperative, Inc. will use a $12.8 million 50 percent loan-grant combination to deploy 298 miles of fiber-optic cable in unserved areas of Jefferson and Wayne counties in Illinois. This investment is anticipated to reach 1,684 households, 31 farms, 29 businesses, nine educational facilities, two critical community facilities, and one health care center.
The entities considered eligible to apply for assistance under the ReConnect Program included:
- Non-profit entities;
- For-profit corporations;
- Limited liability companies;
- Cooperative or mutual organizations;
- States, local governments, or any agency, subdivision, instrumentality, or political subdivision thereof;
- A territory or possession of the United States; and
- An Indian tribe (as defined in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. § 450b)).
Click here for more info about the USDA ReConnect Pilot Program.