AP

Feds: $401M will add high-speed internet to rural US places

Jul 28, 2022, 11:21 AM | Updated: 7:15 pm

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The federal government is pledging $401 million in grants and loans to expand the reach and improve the speed of internet for rural residents, tribes and businesses in remote parts of 11 states from Alaska to Arkansas.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters Wednesday, ahead of the Thursday announcement, that farmers, store owners, schoolchildren and people seeking telehealth medical checkups will benefit from the ReConnect and Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee programs.

“Connectivity is critical to economic success in rural America,” Vilsack said in a statement tallying the number of people who could be helped at about 31,000 in states also including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas.

The statement said the Department of Agriculture plans more spending on high-speed internet in coming weeks as part of a $65 billion Biden administration plan to expand affordable, high-speed internet to all communities in the U.S.

U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto joined Vilsack and Mitch Landrieu, White House infrastructure coordinator, to point to the effect the grants and loans are expected to have in the northern Nevada community of Lovelock, home to fewer than 2,000 people, and the Lovelock Indian Colony.

“There is a need for this connectivity on so many levels,” Cortez Masto said, “whether it brings telehealth, telemedicine, e-learning, workforce development. A connection is so important for so many Nevadans.”

Internet provider Uprise LLC will receive more than $27 million to connect almost 4,900 people, 130 businesses, 22 farms and seven public schools in Lovelock and surrounding Pershing County, officials said.

Cortez Masto, a Democrat seeking reelection in November, said federal funds will offer eligible Nevada residents a $30-per-month discount on their internet bill discount and up to $100 toward a computer.

Elsewhere, Midvale Telephone Co. will get $10.6 million to bring high-speed fiber-optic internet to people, businesses and farms in four central Idaho counties — Elmore, Blaine, Custer and Boise — and five southeast Arizona counties: Gila, Graham, Pinal, Cochise and Pima.

The Arkansas Telephone Co. will receive $12 million to connect almost 1,000 people, 10 businesses and 145 farms to high-speed internet in Searcy and Van Buren counties, with low-cost with voice and voice/data starter packages.

Alaska Power & Telephone, Unicom Inc. and Cordova Telephone Cooperative, combined, are slated to receive almost $55.4 million in to connect almost 3,300 people, 118 businesses and seven schools in remote areas by fiber-optic network.

In New Mexico, Continental Divide Electric Cooperative and ENMP Telephone Cooperative are due to receive a combined $18 million in grants to install affordable fiber networks, and Penasco Valley Telephone Cooperative will get a nearly $29 million loan to connect “socially vulnerable communities” in Chaves, Eddy, Lincoln and Otero counties.

Vilsack said the programs will particularly help residents in what he called “persistent poverty counties,” where he said most have access to broadband, but about one in three don’t have high-speed networks needed for telemedicine and distance learning.

He said the goal was “to do what is necessary to make sure every rural resident, regardless of ZIP code has access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet.”

____

This story corrects the full name reference Cortez Masto in the 8th paragraph.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Protesters in Phoenix shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona state Capitol after ...

Associated Press

Abortion ruling supercharges Arizona to be an especially important swing state

A ruling this week instituting a near-total abortion ban supercharged Arizona's role, turning it into the most critical battleground.

7 hours ago

Former President Donald Trump, center, appears in court for his arraignment, Tuesday, April 4, 2023...

Associated Press

Manhattan court searching for jurors to hear first-ever criminal case against a former president

Jury selection is set to start Monday in former President Donald Trump's hush money case — the first trial of the presumptive nominee.

8 hours ago

Emergency personnel arrive on the scene after a  an 18-wheeler crashed into the Texas Department of...

Associated Press

1 dead and 13 injured in semitrailer crash at a Texas public safety office, with the driver jailed

A driver rammed an 18-wheeler though the front of a building where his renewal for a commercial driver’s license had been rejected.

9 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a Get Out The Vote rally ...

Associated Press

Trump pushes Arizona lawmakers to ‘remedy’ state abortion ruling that he says ‘went too far’

Donald Trump urged Arizona lawmakers on Friday to swiftly “remedy” the state court ruling allowing prosecutors to enforce an abortion ban.

11 hours ago

Biden to require more gun dealers to run background checks....

Associated Press

Biden administration will require thousands more gun dealers to run background checks on buyers

New Biden rule to require thousands more firearms dealers across the United States will have to run background checks on buyers.

1 day ago

Instagram blurring out nudity with new app tools....

Associated Press

Instagram blurring nudity in messages to protect teens from sexual extortion

Instagram says it’s deploying new tools to protect young people and combat sexual extortion by blurring nudity.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Feds: $401M will add high-speed internet to rural US places