(INDIANAPOLIS) – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director Michael Dora announced that USDA Rural Development is investing more than $14.3 million to provide or improve rural broadband services in Indiana.
“Broadband is an important necessity in economic development in rural Indiana,” said Dora. ‘Expanding connectivity capabilities increases access to educational, social and business opportunities in the state.”
Washington County Rural Telephone Cooperative based in Pekin, Ind. is receiving a Telecommunications loan of $14,359,000 to convert a legacy-copper system to an Active Ethernet (AE) Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network whereby a dedicated home-run fiber(s) will connect directly to the subscriber’s premises from either a central office or a remote terminal. At the completion of the loan build-out, voice/Internet subscribers over a FTTP platform capable of delivering downstream/upstream speeds of 1Gb/1Gb.
Today’s announcement came as part of a larger statement from USDA Deputy Under Secretary of Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy in which he announced USDA is investing $152 million in 20 projects to provide or improve rural broadband service in 14 states.
USDA is making the investments through the Community Connect Grant Program, the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program, and the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program. Investing in telecommunications infrastructure connects people to each other: businesses to customers, farmers to markets, and students to a world of knowledge.
The projects USDA is investing in today will help improve the quality of life in rural communities in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a cornerstone recommendation of the task force.
To view the report in its entirety, click the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, click the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).
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.