USDA is distributing almost $714 million for broadband connectivity projects through the fourth round of the ReConnect Program, an announcement that will direct loan and grant funding to 33 projects across the country.

ReConnect funding is available through loans and grants; USDA said Monday's announcement included more than $420 million in grants and about $293.6 million in loans. 

The broadband companies receiving the funding will also be required to participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program, a provision of the 2021 infrastructure law offering up to $30 in monthly discounts for internet service in qualifying low-income households; the potential discount increases to $75 discount for households on tribal lands.

“The President honestly believes that in order to have the fullest opportunity available — to bring manufacturing back, to bring precision agriculture to the fore, to reconnect the young people to economic opportunity in rural places — that the expansion of broadband access is essential,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters Monday. “The announcement today is one step.”

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The money will go toward 33 high-speed internet projects in 19 states: Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Washington. 

The project recipients include:

  •  The Home Telephone Company, which will receive $6 million to connect 4,000 people to the internet in Berkeley County, South Carolina.
  • The Decatur Telephone Company will receive $30 million to connect 5,400 people in Benton County, Arkansas.
  • The North-State Telephone Co. is receiving $10 million to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 1,490 people to the internet in Wasco County, Oregon.
  • The Cal-Ore Telephone Company will receive $24 million to connect 757 people in California's Modoc and Siskiyou counties.

Goodman Telephone Company will receive $29 million to provide service for nearly 7,000 people in Missouri's McDonald and Newton Counties. In Kansas, the Craw-Kan Telephone Cooperative will receive $49 million to connect 4,189 people.

According to USDA, the ReConnect program has invested $3.86 billion since its inception in FY 2019.

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