ReConnect Funding to Connect 884 Rural Households to High-Speed Internet e-Connectivity

CRYSTAL HILL, Va., Nov. 2, 2020 – The Trump Administration today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $1.5 million to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas in Virginia. This investment is part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect Program.

“In today’s world, and especially in America’s rural communities, having access to high-speed internet is essential to moving families forward.” said Brandon Lipps, Deputy Under Secretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to deploying high-speed broadband e-Connectivity to rural communities, because we know that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative will use a $1.5 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect 1,964 residents, 34 businesses, 27 farms, a fire station and two post offices to high-speed broadband internet in Brunswick and Halifax counties in Virginia.

Background:

In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America. On Dec. 13, 2018, Secretary Perdue announced the rules of the program, called “ReConnect,” including how the loans and grants will be awarded to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America.

On April 20, 2020, USDA announced the Department has received 172 applications for $1.57 billion in Round Two of the ReConnect Program. The second round will enable USDA to implement innovative new solutions to rural connectivity by leveraging financial options with our partners and continuing the success of the first round of funding. The application window for Round Two closed on April 15.

In Round One of the ReConnect Program, USDA invested $698 million to bring high-speed broadband e-Connectivity to approximately 167,000 households, 17,000 rural small businesses and farms, and more than 500 health care centers, educational facilities and critical community facilities located in 33 states. To learn more about individual investments, read USDA’s Broadband ReConnect Program report (PDF, 4 MB).

USDA received 11 Round Two ReConnect Program applications that are eligible for the $100 million Congress allocated to the program through the CARES Act.

To learn more about ReConnect Program eligibility, technical assistance and recent announcements, visit www.usda.gov/reconnect.

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 health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

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