RUS RE-CONNECT GRANT 2019
On December 4, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) Bill Northey announced USDA has invested $12.8 million in high-speed broadband infrastructure that will create or improve e-Connectivity for more than 1,650 homes in rural Illinois. This is one of many funding announcements in the first round of USDA’s ReConnect Pilot Program investments.
“The Broadband ReConnect Program exists to furnish loans and grants to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in underserved areas in rural America,” says Barry Adair, Wabash Co-op CEO. “Our cooperative is very fortunate to have this opportunity to better serve our region with much needed broadband expansion into areas that have little to no access to broadband. This exciting opportunity will now help local residents, farmers and other small businesses grow and thrive with better connectivity.” “We know that rural communities need robust, modern infrastructure to thrive, and that includes having access to broadband e-Connectivity,” Northey said. “Broadband is no longer an amenity. It is essential for education, health care and public safety. I’m excited about the tremendous benefits broadband will have for farmers here in Illinois. USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in deploying this critical infrastructure, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
Wabash Telephone Cooperative, Inc. will use the loan-grant combination to deploy 298 miles of fiber-optic cable in underserved areas of Jefferson and Wayne counties in Illinois. This investment is anticipated to reach 1,684 households, 31 farms, 29 businesses, nine educational facilities, two critical community facilities and one health care center. Since 1952, Wabash Communications CO-OP has been providing telecommunication services to five counties in South Central Illinois and is locally owned by its members.
For more information about the growing fiber network in our region, visit www.awesomefiber.com.
Wabash Communications is an equal opportunity employer and provider.