A new webpage featuring information about the importance of rural e-Connectivity and the ways USDA is investing to help deploy high-speed broadband infrastructure in rural America has been unveiled.
“Rural high-speed broadband e-Connectivity is as important for economic development as rail, roads, bridges and airports – and as vital as the buildouts of rural telephone networks were decades ago,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
Reliable and affordable high-speed internet e-Connectivity acts as a catalyst for rural prosperity by enabling efficient, modern communications between rural American households, farms, ranches, businesses, schools and health care centers. Yet, according to the Federal Communications Commission, 80% of the 24 million Americans who lack broadband access live in rural areas and on tribal lands.
This new website will provide direct access to information on our decades-long programs that offer more than $700 million per year for modern broadband e-Connectivity in rural communities. In the coming months, USDA will almost double these longstanding programs with an additional $600 million to expand rural broadband infrastructure in unserved rural areas and tribal lands.
USDA wants to hear the thoughts and needs of Americans living and doing business in rural communities. The new website includes a feedback form for the general public and interested stakeholders to provide input on the design and requirements of the new pilot program.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.