U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development California State Director Maria Gallegos Herrera announced a $25 million investment to connect rural residents, farmers, and business owners in rural California to reliable, affordable high-speed internet.
“Expanding internet access is critical for our modern economy and the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to equity,” Gallegos Herrera said. “Through these investments made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we can now connect schools and farms for nearly 1,000 people in rural northern California. The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced how essential internet service is for education, work, healthcare, and all aspects of life. This support announced today brings us closer to ensuring that all Americans share in this access, including in rural areas.”
The Cal-Ore Telephone Company will use a $25 million grant to connect 757 people, 45 businesses, 14 farms and four educational facilities to high-speed internet in Modoc and Siskiyou counties. Cal-Ore Telephone Company will make monthly internet service affordable by participating in the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program.
Connecting all communities across the United States to high-speed internet is central part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to rebuild our economy from the bottom up and middle out by rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, which is driving over $470 billion in private sector manufacturing investments and creating good-paying jobs.
Under the President’s Investing in America agenda, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $65 billion to connect everyone to high-speed internet through the Internet for Allinitiative. USDA is connecting more people to high-speed internet in this fourth funding round of the ReConnect Program. Since the beginning of the Biden-Harris Administration, the Department has invested in 142 ReConnect projects that will bring high-speed internet access to 314,000 rural Americans.
Today’s investment is included in a national announcement totaling $714 million in similar grants and loans invested in 19 states. A full listing of projects from today’s announcement can be found online.
Applicants to ReConnect Program funding must serve a rural area that lacks access to service at speeds of 100 megabits per second download and 20 Mbps upload. Applicants must also commit to building facilities capable of providing high-speed internet service with speeds of 100 Mbps (download and upload) to every location in the proposed service area.
Additionally, to ensure that rural households that need internet service can afford it, all awardees will be required to apply to participate in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP offers a discount of up to $30 per month towards internet service to qualifying low-income households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal Lands.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans 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, Tribal and high-poverty areas.