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USDA invests $10.2 million for broadband

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Wisconsin state director Frank Frassetto, has announced the department is investing $86 million in rural broadband service for 17,000 people and businesses, in eight states, through the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program.

“Access to high-speed broadband internet is critical to ensure prosperity anywhere, but especially in America’s rural communities,” said Frassetto. “…The USDA is committed to using all available tools and resources to increase e-connectivity across rural America, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

The USDA is providing loans to six telecommunications providers to build, expand and improve broadband services in Wisconsin, as well as Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee and Texas.

In Wisconsin, the Chibardun Telephone Cooperative Inc. is receiving a $10.2 million loan to install 328.5 miles of Fiberto- the-Premises (FTTP), to serve the rural areas of the Prairie Farm and Sand Creek exchanges.

Since October 2019, the USDA has invested $744 million to bring high-speed broadband e-connectivity to 172,000 households, 19,000 rural small businesses and farms, and more than 500 healthcare centers, educational facilities and critical community facilities, in 34 states.

The Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program is one of several USDA rural broadband programs. The USDA announced in April, that the department received 172 applications for $1.57 billion in Round 2 of the ReConnect Pilot Program.

The second round will enable the USDA to implement innovative new solutions to rural connectivity, by leveraging financial options with partners and continuing the success of the first round of funding.

The USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and healthcare; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.

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