USDA invests $5.7M in broadband for rural Nebraska communities | TheFencePost.com

USDA invests $5.7M in broadband for rural Nebraska communities

-USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach announced that USDA has invested $5.7 million in a high-speed broadband infrastructure project that will create or improve rural e-Connectivity in parts of three Nebraska counties. The investment is expected to connect 489 rural households, 24 farms and eight businesses to high-speed broadband internet in unserved portions of Madison, Wayne and Pierce counties. This is one of many funding announcements in the first round of USDA’s ReConnect Pilot Program investments.

“From my experience on my family’s farm to my time as Nebraska’s director of agriculture, I know first-hand that high-speed broadband internet connectivity is essential to making agricultural businesses more efficient and profitable,” Ibach said. “While serving the state of Nebraska, I saw the potential impact that high-speed broadband would have not only for agricultural producers, but for everyone in our community. It is a privilege to now serve at USDA, under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, and see the administration make the deployment of this critical infrastructure in rural America a top priority.”

Eastern Nebraska Telephone Company will use a $5.7 million ReConnect Program grant to construct 221 miles of fiber-to-the-premises broadband infrastructure. The company will use matching funds of $1.9 million to complete the project, for a total project cost of $7.6 million. Eastern is a certificated local exchange carrier providing broadband service to its eight exchanges in eastern Nebraska. The company, headquartered in Blair, Neb., provides long-distance and wireline voice to all its exchange areas and high-speed broadband service to select areas.