You can’t mention the words “crumbling infrastructure” today without bringing up the need for greater rural broadband access. The fact is that there are many areas of the U.S. where connectivity is still lagging far behind.
So over the last few years, U.S. lawmakers and governing agencies have been actively looking for ways to spread connectivity deeper into some of the most under-served areas of the country. The belief is that by doing so, it will spur business and create a level playing field for digital innovation.
One group that is helping with this initiative is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Just recently, during the White House’s “Infrastructure Week,” the USDA announced that it is distributing loans to four states in an effort to spread broadband connectivity.
The award totals $43.6 million, and will generate almost 1,000 miles of fiber across four states: Illinois, California, Texas and Iowa.
The biggest payout will be distributed to Central Texas Telephone Cooperative, which will receive a $24.8 million loan for 568 miles of fiber and critical hardware upgrades. $9 million will be loaned to California’s Ducor Telephone, for 67 miles of fiber and updates. Iowa’s Coon Valley Cooperative Telephone Association will receive a $6.5 million loan, for 216 miles of fiber and upgrades. And Viola Home Telephone will receive a $3.3 million loan, which will go towards 104 miles of fiber and equipment.
“Too many rural areas still lack access to robust, affordable broadband services that can create jobs and boost rural economies,” stated U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “These broadband infrastructure investments will connect rural communities to a digital future and will help expand access to high-speed internet, health care, educational, and business services in rural communities.”
Here at GLDS, we applaud the USDA for allocating this money toward the development of fiber communications. Fiber is the future of U.S. broadband, and this push will bring countless businesses and residences up to speed.