USDA Rural Development’s ReConnect Program Helps Rural Families Bridge the Digital Divide

Posted by Darrah Perryman, Public Affairs Specialist, USDA Rural Development in Rural Technology

October 26, 2022

McClellanville County is a rural community in South Carolina, and like many communities across rural America, high-speed internet access presents real obstacles. Families like Lindsay’s have struggled to stay connected in the digital age. “When the kids came home from school and I was working, nobody could get along,” Lindsay said. “Everyone had to stop and wait for me to finish, and the kids had to wait to do their homework.”

But with the help of USDA Rural Development’s ReConnect program, residents of McClellanville County now have better access to broadband services. Through loans, grants, or a combination of the two, the program expands and builds broadband infrastructure in communities without sufficient access.

Last year, Rural Development provided a grant of $8,184,531 to fund the project. The Home Telephone Company matched this funding to extend fiber optic cable 153 square miles, connecting 3,780 homes, 19 educational institutions and eight critical community facilities.

“It was a game-changer for us. We have multiple devices, and everyone is always running something, and we’ve never had a problem or downtime. It’s beyond what we had,” Lindsay said.

USDA Rural Development recently announced a new round of ReConnect program funding, and eligible communities can apply from September 6 through November 2, 2022. This investment helps fuel long-term rural economic development and comes after an investment of $401 million in high-speed Internet for rural communities which was announced in July. The initiative will reach over 31,000 people and help bridge the digital divide for rural communities.

To learn more about the ReConnect program and whether your community might be eligible, visit www.usda.gov/reconnect.

Category/Subject:
Rural Technology

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