Agriculture Department Secretary Sonny Perdue has announced that USDA is allocating $97 million for 12 projects focused on improving rural broadband service in 11 states.
Perdue noted that the initiative will provide over 22,000 subscribers with efficient Internet connectivity resulting in more educational, social and business opportunities in their rural communities, USDA said Wednesday.
Among the department’s investments, which will go through the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan and Community Connect Grant programs, will include the provision of $21.4 million to Chibardun Telephone Cooperative in Cameron, Wis.; $2.67 million to Osage Innovative Solutions in Tulsa, Okla.; and $13.7 million to Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Company in Green City, Mo., among others.
The projects are expected to focus on the states of Arizona, Iowa, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Maryland and Nevada.
The broadband effort comes after President Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in April 2017 aimed at identifying legislative solutions for promoting agriculture and prosperity in rural communities.
In January, Perdue presented the task force’s findings to Trump detailing how e-connectivity is a tool for productivity, education and healthcare which are contributory to economic development, workforce readiness and an improved quality of life.