PARK RIVER, ND – August 13, 2021 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced August 11, 2021, that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $167 million in 12 states to deploy broadband infrastructure in rural areas without sufficient access to high-speed internet.
“Generations ago, the federal government recognized that without affordable access to electricity, Americans couldn’t fully participate in modern society and the modern economy. Broadband internet is the new electricity. It is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning and health care, and to stay connected,” Secretary Vilsack said. “This is why President Biden’s American Jobs Plan prioritizes building ‘future-proof’ broadband infrastructure – like the investments we’re announcing today – in areas without sufficient access to broadband, so that we finally reach 100 percent high-speed broadband coverage.”
These investments will benefit rural people in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.
Polar Communications will receive $4 Million to continue expanding their broadband network in Walsh and Grand Forks counties.
“We welcome USDA’s commitment to assist rural broadband companies, like Polar, in extending our fiber broadband networks to underserved areas,” said Karl Blake, CEO of Polar Communications. “This grant will help us bring affordable and reliable services to 230 locations in these counties.”
The investments being announced this week are part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect Program as well as other funds made available for the program since 2018. USDA expects to begin inviting applications for a third round of program funds in the coming weeks.