The Biden administration announced an investment of $400 million in high-speed Internet for rural communities

“Rural communities are the backbone of our nation and have a broad impact on our economy, but for far too long, rural communities have been neglected or left behind and their contributions not being recognized. We are changing that, and it begins with White House Infrastructure Act Coordinator Mitch Landrieu,” said Mitch Landrieu, White House Infrastructure Act Coordinator, Mitch Landrieu, On a call with journalists: ensuring that rural communities are connected to a high-speed, reliable and affordable internet.” “Thanks to the hard work of President (Agriculture Secretary Tom) Vilsack and the team at USDA Rural Development, our administration is providing more than $400 million in loans and grants to fund high-speed Internet infrastructure for rural communities this week.”

Many rural areas across the country lack access to affordable and high-speed Internet largely because the infrastructure installation is not worth the investment for ISPs to make. The new project funding, which will come through the USDA ReConnect Loan and Grant Program, aims to build, improve, and acquire facilities and equipment to support broadband access in rural areas. Additional announcements to fund the program are expected during the summer.

Vilsack said the $401 million in funding announced today will support 20 projects in 11 states — Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for us over the next several months to put forward more than $1 billion in investment in connecting people to a better, more modern future,” he added, explaining how connectivity will give support to farmers, expand access to telemedicine in remote areas and expand access to remote learning opportunities. distance.

Part of the funding will go to projects in her state, including “$21.7 million that will go to improving broadband access in rural Lovelock, Nevada,” Nevada Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto said on the call.

She said the project will connect about 4,000 people, 130 businesses, 22 farms and seven public schools across rural Nevada to high-speed Internet.

Earlier this month, the White House announced that one million American families have signed up for broadband Internet loans through the Affordable Connection Program since GetInternet.gov was introduced in May.

Through the program, eligible participants can receive a $30 monthly credit toward the cost of their Internet service plan, or a $75 monthly credit for families living on tribal lands. The administration estimates that a staggering 40% of American households qualify for credit.

Thursday’s announcement marks the administration’s latest effort to highlight the infrastructure projects that have been catalyzed since the beginning of President Joe Biden’s term in office.

Unlike the rural internet projects announced Thursday, the Affordable Connection program is being funded by the provision of a massive, bipartisan infrastructure bill passed last year.

It will take time for many of the infrastructure projects funded by the bipartisan bill – new roads and bridges, for example – to come to full fruition due to the planning, approval and getting shovels in the ground processes. But the Affordable Connection program is a rare effort that yields almost immediate and tangible benefits, a decisive win the administration could tout before the midterm elections next November.

Additional funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act is expected for rural Internet projects next year.

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