2018 Omnibus Package Includes $600 Million in Rural Broadband Funding

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Washington, DC — The FY 2018 Omnibus Spending Package includes an investment of $600 million in rural broadband for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to the Federal Communications Commission, 80 percent of the 24 million American households that do not have reliable, affordable high-speed internet are in rural areas. E-connectivity plays a critical role in establishing quality of life, access to healthcare, effective schools, and other vital services that foster long-term rural prosperity.

The Omnibus bill included $600 million in appropriated funding for a new pilot grant and loan combination program, administered by the USDA, to provide broadband to under-served rural and tribal areas. This investment will leverage nearly $1 billion in total new rural broadband projects.

Additionally, the FY18 Omnibus included robust funding levels for rural infrastructure. The $1 billion in allocated funds will equate to $4.7 billion more rural infrastructure projects than were funded last year. The total FY18 investment in rural communities’ infrastructure through USDA programs will total $13.5 billion. Finally, the Forest Service will also receive a total of $449 million in appropriations for the rehabilitation of its infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and dams.

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