On Tuesday, November 5, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the investment of over $4.2 million in high-speed broadband infrastructure in Oklahoma. Funded by USDA’s Rural Development Broadband ReConnect Program, the project will create and improve rural e-Connectivity for rural households and farms in Oklahoma. Representatives Frank Lucas (OK-03) and Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) released the following statements praising USDA’s investment in rural Oklahoma
“In today’s society, our access to broadband allows us to connect to an unlimited amount of services and information. From businesses on Main Street, classrooms in our local schools, and households dotted throughout rural America, the ability to connect to broadband truly shapes the lives of each and every Oklahoman,” said Congressman Lucas.
In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America. On Dec. 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. USDA received 146 applications between May 31, 2019, and July 12, 2019, requesting $1.4 billion in funding across all three ReConnect Program funding products: 100 percent loan, 100 percent grant, and loan-grant combinations. USDA is reviewing applications and announcing approved projects on a rolling basis. Additional investments in all three categories will be made in the coming weeks.
These grants, loans and combination funds enable the federal government to partner with the private sector and rural communities to build modern broadband infrastructure in areas with insufficient Internet service. Insufficient service is defined as connection speeds of less than 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload.