Biden investing $401M for high-speed internet for 31K rural residents, businesses

The Biden administration will invest $401 million to provide access to high-speed internet for 31,000 rural residents and businesses in 11 states, including Nevada, Arkansas, and Idaho, the White House announced on Thursday.

There will be 20 projects in these states, which also includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Texas. The Department of Agriculture plans on making additional investments for rural high-speech internet later this summer.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for us over the course of the next several months to roll out a billion dollars in investment in connecting people to a better and more modern future,” Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack told reporters.

The funding includes a $27.1 million grant for Uprise LLC in Pershing County, Nevada to launch a network to connect 4,884 people, 130 businesses, 22 farms, and seven public schools to high-speed internet.

“This is a game changer for so many of our rural communities and our underserved communities in our cities,” Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) told reporters. 

The funding also includes a $10.6 million loan to the Midvale Telephone Company to connect 455 people, 39 businesses and 69 farms to high-speed internet in Elmore, Blaine, Custer and Boise counties in Idaho, and in Gila, Graham, Pinal, Cochise and Pima counties in Arizona. 

The loan will serve people in socially vulnerable communities in Pinal County in Arizona and Elmore County in Idaho, according to the White House.

Additionally, it will give a $12 million grant to the Arkansas Telephone Company Inc., to connect 986 people, 10 businesses and 145 farms to high-speed internet in Searcy and Van Buren counties.

To be eligible for the funding, the ReConnect Program through the Department of Agriculture requires applicants to serve an area where high-speed internet service speeds are lower than 100 megabits per second.