USDA Announces Broadband Funding for Rural Customers

WASHINGTON - Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced loans to help finance the construction of broadband networks in rural Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon and South Dakota. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today's announcement is one part of the Department's efforts to strengthen the rural economy.

"Rural Americans need full access high-speed telecommunications services," Vilsack said. "Broadband allows rural communities to tap into critical health care and social services systems. It also helps even the playing field in education, and gives small-town businesses a chance to compete globally. As part of the Obama Administration's goal to improve infrastructure, we will continue to fund projects that expand broadband service in rural areas."

Today's funding announcement will provide almost $40 million from USDA's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to install fiber networks to improve telecommunications capability in the three recipients' service areas. USDA's Telecommunications Loan Program finances infrastructure that enables access to a seamless, nationwide telecommunications network.

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