August 23, 2023
USDA Invests Connecting Rural America to High-Speed Internet
On August 21, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development and Missouri State Director Kyle Wilkens announced $76 million in grants and loans to connect thousands of rural residents, farmers, and business owners across rural Missouri to affordable high-speed internet through the ReConnect Program, funded by President Biden’s Infrastructure Law. This funding opportunity is designed to fund high-speed internet projects in the most rural, remote, underserved, and unserved communities.
“I am excited to announce that Missouri is receiving nearly $76 million from the ReConnect program as part of President Biden’s Investing in America to rebuild the economy,” Wilkens said. “Access to high-speed internet is crucial to rural communities in Missouri. These projects will provide vital opportunities to bring local business to global markets, connect rural communities to healthcare without a long drive into the nearest city, and offers new tools for farmers and ranchers to expand their business. Finally, these projects are crucial for helping to bring our younger generations back home after college to continue the family legacy.”
Today’s investments will help to increase access and usage of broadband infrastructure in rural areas lead to growing jobs, population growth, and higher rates of new business opportunities for rural businesses, agricultural producers, digital skills, online education, and job search opportunities for rural residents. With the ReConnect program, many rural America will have the benefit of having high-speed internet.
Missouri’s three projects in this announcement include:
- Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Company is receiving a $8.8 million loan to benefit 1,188 people, 15 businesses and 256 farms in Schuyler and Scotland counties in Missouri.
- Mountain View Rural Fiber LLC is receiving a $24.8 million loan to benefit 5,519 people, 298 businesses, 46 farms and 29 educational facilities in Howell, Shannon, and Texas counties in Missouri.
- Aptitude Internet LLC is receiving a $42.3 million grant to benefit 18,982 people, 480 businesses, 1,452 farms and 15 educational facilities in Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Maries, Osage and Phelps counties in Missouri.
Background: ReConnect Program
Applicants to ReConnect Program funding must serve a rural area that lacks access to service at speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 20 Mbps upload. Applicants must also commit to building facilities capable of providing high-speed internet service with speeds of 100 Mbps (download and upload) to every location in the proposed service area. Additionally, to ensure that rural households that need internet service can afford it, all awardees will be required to apply to participate in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP offers a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service to qualifying low-income households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal Lands.
For more information about, please visit: ReConnect Loan and Grant Program | USDA
Contact USDA Rural Development
Information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by visiting www.rd.usda.gov/mo, by calling (573) 876-0976, or by emailing RDMissouri@usda.gov. Stay current by following @RD_Missouri on Twitter.
USDA Rural Development has 25 offices across the state to serve the 2.2 million residents living in rural Missouri. Office locations include a state office in Columbia, along with local offices in Butler, Charleston, Chillicothe, Clinton, Dexter, Eldon, Farmington, Higginsville, Houston, Kennett, Kirksville, Maryville, Mexico, Moberly, Neosho, New London, Poplar Bluff, Richmond, Rolla, Sedalia, Springfield, St. Joseph, Troy, and West Plains.
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