USDA RD Announces Nearly $50 Million for High-Speed Internet in Illinois
CHAMPAIGN, IL, Oct. 27, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) State Director Betsy Dirksen Londrigan today announced that the Department is providing nearly $50 million to bring high-speed internet access to rural residents across 13 counties in Illinois. Today’s investments include funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a historic $65 billion to expand reliable, affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the U.S.
“These investments are life-changing and show the government at its best- answering the calls of the people,” said Dirksen Londrigan. “On the roads throughout central and southern Illinois, I’ve heard from farmers, business owners, parents, and rural residents that they need affordable, high-speed internet. These investments mean farmers can take advantage of a wide range of technology, children can do their homework at home, businesses can thrive, entrepreneurs can start companies in their hometowns and so much more.”
Nationwide, $759 million in loans and grants are being announced from the third funding round of the ReConnect Program.
Hamilton County Telephone Cooperative will use $24,826,724 between loans and grants to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 3,202 people, 248 farms, and 52 businesses to high-speed internet in Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Saline, Wayne, and White counties in Illinois. Hamilton County Telephone Cooperative will make high-speed internet affordable by participating the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity and Lifeline programs.
Shelby Electric Cooperative Incorporated will use a $23,690,245 grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 4,057 people, 511 farms, 61 businesses, and two educational facilities to high-speed internet in Christian, Cumberland, Effingham, Fayette, Montgomery, Moultrie, and Shelby counties in Illinois. Shelby Electric Cooperative will make high-speed internet affordable by participating in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program.
Background: ReConnect Program
To be eligible for ReConnect Program funding, an applicant must serve an area that does not have access to service at speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) (download) and 20 Mbps (upload). The applicant 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 its proposed service area.
Background: Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
President Biden forged consensus and compromise between Democrats, Republicans and Independents to demonstrate our democracy can deliver big wins for the American people. After decades of talk on rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, President Biden delivered the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – a historic investment in America that will change people’s lives for the better and get America moving again.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $65 billion to ensure every American has access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet through a historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment. The legislation also lowers costs for internet service and helps close the digital divide, so that more Americans can take full advantage of the opportunities provided by internet access.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans 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, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean-energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.