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USDA Invests Almost $48 Million For High-Speed Internet Access In Rural Montana

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last week that USDA is investing $401 million to provide access to high-speed internet for 31,000 rural residents and businesses in 11 states, including almost $48 million in Montana. This announcement includes a group of investments from the ReConnect Program and an award funded through USDA’s Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee program.

The department will make additional investments for rural high-speed internet later this summer, including ReConnect Program funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a historic $65 billion investment to expand affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the U.S.

“The lack of access to highspeed internet and inability to connect are issues we see agricultural producers, business owners, and communities struggling with across Montana,” stated USDA Rural Development state director, Kathleen Williams. “We are excited to be part of the solution by providing ReConnect funding which will allow for the infrastructure and equipment needed to make highspeed internet available and affordable to 2,298 people, 97 businesses, four schools, 420 farms and five rural counties throughout the state.”

Nemont Telephone Cooperative Inc. is receiving $24,972,692 to deploy a fiber- to-the-premises network. This network will connect 1,058 people, 25 businesses, and 282 farms to high-speed internet in Roosevelt and Valley counties. Nemont will make high-speed internet affordable by offering a suite of broadband services designed to be simple and target residents and businesses on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. All services offered are symmetrical and capable of supporting multiple simultaneous users for many applications including teleworking and remote learning. This project will serve the socially vulnerable communities in Roosevelt County and the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

Blackfoot Telephone Cooperative Inc. is receiving $4,014,840 to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network that will serve 89 people, five businesses and 47 farms to high-speed internet in Ravalli County.

Reservation Telephone Cooperative is receiving $18,501,541 to deploy a fiber-to-the-home network. This network will connect 1,151 people, 67 businesses, four public schools, and 91 farms in Richland and Wibaux counties in Montana and Dunn, McKenzie and McLean counties in North Dakota.

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