USDA will invest $23.7 million in high-speed broadband infrastructure that will create or improve e-connectivity for nearly 8,750 rural households in North Carolina, according to an announcement Nov. 6 by Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald LaVoy.
The funding is the first round USDA’s ReConnect Pilot Program that was passed by Congress in March 2018 and provides $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America.
“Our core mission at USDA is to increase rural prosperity, and this mission cannot be achieved without addressing the digital divide our rural communities face due to a lack of high-speed broadband internet connection,” LaVoy said.
Star Telephone Membership Corporation of Clinton, N.C., will use ReConnect Program grant funding to deploy a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband network capable of simultaneous transmission rates of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) or greater.
The funded service area includes 8,749 households, 19 businesses, 10 educational facilities, and three critical community facilities. The project will facilitate more access to services and information for local residents, and it will improve the overall quality of life for people in the community.