The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing approximately $12 million to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas in Louisiana. This investment is part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect Program.
“Broadband is critical for rural communities to grow, attract businesses and maintain a high quality of life. The funding announced today will connect rural homes, businesses, farms and community facilities such as health care services, fire stations and schools with adequate access to reliable broadband,” USDA Louisiana State Director for Rural Development Roy Holleman said.
“Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner in deploying this critical infrastructure in Louisiana and across all of America’s rural communities, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives,” he continued.
Star Telephone Company Inc. will use a $6.1 million ReConnect grant, and a $6.1 million Reconnect loan to deploy a fiber-to-premises network. This high-speed broadband network will connect 3,857 people, 69 businesses, 149 farms, five educational facilities and two essential community facilities in Rapides, Concordia, Pointe Coupee, Avoyelles and Evangeline parishes in Louisiana.
In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America. On December 13, 2018, Secretary Perdue announced the rules of the program, called “ReConnect,” including how the loans and grants will be awarded to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America.
On April 20, 2020, USDA announced the Department has received 172 applications for $1.57 billion in Round Two of the ReConnect Program. The second round will enable USDA to implement innovative new solutions to rural connectivity by leveraging financial options with our partners and continuing the success of the first round of funding. The application window for Round Two closed on April 15, 2020.
In Round One of the ReConnect Program, USDA invested $698 million to bring high-speed broadband e-Connectivity to approximately 167,000 households, 17,000 rural small businesses and farms, and more than 500 health care centers, educational facilities and critical community facilities located in 33 states. To learn more about individual investments, read USDA’s Broadband ReConnect Program report (PDF, 4 MB).
USDA received 11 Round Two ReConnect Program applications that are eligible for the $100 million Congress allocated to the program through the CARES Act.
To learn more about ReConnect Program eligibility, technical assistance and recent announcements, visit www.usda.gov/reconnect.
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 facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.