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USDA to help bring broadband to rural areas

Department announces loans and grants to support rural broadband

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced funding to help strengthen access to high speed broadband for rural Americans. They will offer a total of $85 million in loans and grants.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement, "Improved connectivity means these communities can offer robust business services, expand access to health care and improve the quality of education in their schools, creating a sustainable and dynamic future those who live and work in rural America."

In a press release, the USDA showed several examples of where the grants and loans will be utilized.

$29.95 million is going to the Triangle Telephone Cooperative Association in Montana to improve and expand services.

South Carolina's FTC Communications will use a $12.38 million loan to upgrade their network to provide higher speeds. The USDA also announced a number of smaller grants that will be given out around the country. 

This initiative is part of the USDA's Telecommunications Loan and Community Connect Grant programs, which have brought new or improved broadband access to more than 1.5 million households, businesses, and other facilities.