USDA invests $12.8 million for broadband in Jefferson and Wayne counties

Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey (from left), Wabash Communications CEO Barry Adair and USDA Rural Development State Director Douglas Wilson announce the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s $12.8 million investment in high-speed broadband in southern Illinois.

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LOUISVILLE, Ill. — U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey announced USDA has invested $12.8 million in high-speed broadband infrastructure that will create or improve e-Connectivity for more than 1,650 homes in rural Illinois.

This is one of many funding announcements in the first round of USDA’s ReConnect Pilot Program investments.

“We know that rural communities need robust, modern infrastructure to thrive, and that includes having access to broadband e-Connectivity,” Northey said.

“Broadband is no longer an amenity. It is essential for education, health care and public safety. I’m excited about the tremendous benefits broadband will have for farmers here in Illinois. USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in deploying this critical infrastructure, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

Wabash Telephone Cooperative Inc. will use a $12.8 million 50% loan-grant combination to deploy 298 miles of fiber-optic cable in unserved areas of Jefferson and Wayne counties in Illinois.

This investment is anticipated to reach 1,684 households, 31 farms, 29 businesses, nine educational facilities, two critical community facilities and one healthcare center.

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This article originally ran on agrinews-pubs.com.

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