Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says his agency is making funding available to bring a significant expansion of access to high-speed internet, health care, and educational services for millions of Americans. USDA has $1.15 billion available to help people in rural communities across the country get access to high-speed internet. Vilsack says, “For too long, the digital divide has left too many people living in rural communities behind, unable to compete in the global economy and without access to the services and resources that all Americans need. These actions will go a long way toward ensuring that people who live or work in rural areas can tap into the benefits of broadband.” He adds that those benefits are numerous, including access to specialized health care, educational opportunities, and the global marketplace. Vilsack adds, “Rural people, businesses, and communities must have affordable, reliable, high-speed internet so they can fully participate in modern society and the modern economy.” USDA will begin accepting applications for loans and grants on November 24. USDA is making the funding available through its ReConnect Program.
The National Association of Farm Broadcasting and the American Farm Bureau Federation contributed to this report.