USDA Invests More Than $43 Million in High-Speed Broadband in Rural Idaho, Oregon, and Nevada

ReConnect funding to provide high-speed internet to 1,064 rural households

NAMPA, Idaho, Oct. 14, 2020 — The Trump Administration today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is investing $43.2 million in grants and loans to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas of Idaho, Oregon, and Nevada. This investment is part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect Program.

“So many rural communities across the west and across the nation need this critical infrastructure to prosper,” said USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Jim Hubbard. “This funding will allow for economic expansion, opportunity, and increased quality of life in these rural communities, which is desperately needed. I appreciate the leadership of President Trump and Secretary Perdue in prioritizing this critical initiative for rural communities across the country.”

Oregon-Idaho Utilities Inc. will use a $12.8 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 612 people, 75 farms, and 3 businesses to high-speed internet in Malheur County, Oregon; Owyhee County, Idaho; and Humboldt and Elko counties in Nevada.

Midvale Telephone Company will use a $5.4 million ReConnect grant and $5.4 million ReConnect loan to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 236 people, 15 businesses, 4 farms, and a fire station to high-speed internet in Blaine, Custer, Idaho, Valley, and Washington counties in Idaho.

Direct Communications Rockland Inc. will use a $9.8 million ReConnect grant and a $9.8 million ReConnect loan to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 2,064 people, 118 farms, 30 businesses, a post office, and a fire station to high-speed internet in Bear, Franklin, Lake, Oneida, and Power counties in Idaho.

Background:

In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure 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.

In the first round of the ReConnect Program, USDA invested $698 million to bring high-speed broadband to approximately 167,000 households; 17,000 rural small businesses and farms; and more than 500 health care centers, educational facilities, and critical community facilities located in 33 states. To learn more about individual investments, read USDA’s Broadband ReConnect Program Report.

On April 20, 2020, USDA announced the Department had received 172 applications for $1.57 billion for the second round of the ReConnect Program. USDA received 11  applications for round two that are eligible for the $100 million Congress allocated to the program through the CARES Act. The second round will enable USDA to implement innovative new solutions to rural connectivity by leveraging financial options with our partners and continuing the success of the first round of funding. The application window for the second round closed on April 15, 2020.

To learn more about ReConnect Program eligibility, technical assistance, and recent announcements, visit www.usda.gov/reconnect.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.