USDA announced Jan. 17 that it has invested $10.6 million in two high-speed broadband infrastructure projects in Minnesota that will create or improve rural e-connectivity for more than 1,200 rural households and dozens of businesses throughout several counties in Minnesota.
Funding for this announcement is from the first round of USDA’s ReConnect Pilot Program investments.
Harmony Telephone Co. will use a $2.7 million ReConnect Program loan and a $2.7 million ReConnect Program grant to construct a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 577 households, a health care center and a critical community facility spread over 143 square miles in several counties bordering southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.
Consolidated Telephone Co. will use a $5.2 million ReConnect Program grant to construct an FTTP network of up to one gigabit of symmetrical high-speed internet to nearly 700 homes and public facilities in portions of Cherry and Great Scott townships in St. Louis County in northeast Minnesota. CTC will leverage existing middle-mile infrastructure, in partnership with Northeast Service Cooperative and require only an additional 157.1 miles of new FTTP construction. The funded service area includes 667 households, two educational facilities and two critical community facilities.
In 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America and the program. In December 2019, USDA announced it would make available an additional $550 million in ReConnect funding in 2020.
Visit USDA Rural Development to learn more.