Biden administration to tap into $1T infrastructure package to extend high-speed internet access

The Biden administration on Thursday is expected to announce a $400 million program to expand high-speed internet access in rural areas.

The Department of Agriculture program, which taps into last year’s $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal, will provide high-speed internet for 31,000 rural residents and businesses across 11 states, according to the administration.

“The investments I am announcing today will help 31,000 people and businesses in large and diverse regions across the country access new and critical opportunities,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA knows rural America is America’s backbone, and prosperity here means prosperity for all.”

The funds will be rolled out across rural areas in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas.

A $27.1 million grant under the program will be used to connect 4,884 residents,130 businesses and seven public schools in Pershing County, Nevada, to high-speed internet.

An Idaho-based telecom is receiving a $10.6 million loan under the program to connect 455 people and 39 businesses in rural areas across the state to high-speed internet.

In Arkansas, a $12 million grant will connect 986 people and 10 businesses in rural counties.

“Connectivity is critical to economic success in rural America,” Mr. Vilsack said. “From the farm to the school, from households to international markets, connectivity drives positive change in our communities.

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