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ReConnect Funding to Provide Broadband Service to Midvale

By C. Lawrence

The Trump Administration recently announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is going to invest $43.2 million in grants and loans to rural areas of Idaho, Oregon, and parts of Nevada to provide broadband service to underserved areas.  To find out how this investment will impact Washington County, I spoke with John Stuart, president and CEO of MTE Communications.

Stuart explained that the cost of services to rural areas is very high and this investment will help with expansion in many different ways.  About $10.8 million will be used in four areas of Idaho: Midvale, Warren, Warm Lake, and Stanley, Idaho.  About $4 million will be invested in the Midvale area to connect rural people, businesses, and other organizations to high-speed broadband internet. 

The USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment said, “So many rural communities across the west and across the nation need this critical infrastructure to prosper,” (USDA Press, 2020).  Companies will receive grants and loans from this investment to deploy fiber-to-home networks, but construction will not begin for at least a year or two, according to Stuart.  It takes time to go through the proper channels before the project can begin.  According to the USDA website, this investment is part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect Program, which will provide connectivity to 1,064 rural households.

Source:

USDA Press (2020). Trump administration invests $43 million in high speed broadband. Retrieved from https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2020/10/14/trump-administration-invests-more-43-million-high-speed-broadband

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