USDA invests more than $46 million for broadband in rural Illinois
The USDA is investing $46.4 million towards high-speed internet connection in rural Illinois as part of the ReConnect Program.
US Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue shared the projected impact of the investment during a virtual announcement Tuesday.
“Over 21,209 people effected, 397 farms, 475 businesses, 16 educational facilities, 5 fire stations and 3 post offices.”
A $20 million ReConnect grant and $20 million ReConnect loan is being awarded to Hamilton County Telephone Co-op to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network in Saline, Williamson, Franklin, and White counties.
The remaining $6.4 million will be split between a grant and loan to Flat Rock Telephone Co-op Inc. for the same type of network in Crawford and Lawrence counties.
Perdue says the COVID-19 pandemic has further emphasized the need for rural broadband to provide access to telehealth, remote learning and remote business operations.
The funds are part of the $550 million Congress allocated in the second round of the ReConnect Program.