Rural enterprises get money to promote the Internet

Federal officials announced Thursday that $401 million in grants and loans will be distributed to entities in 11 states to fund programs to access the Internet and improve the speed of rural residents, tribes and businesses.

“Connection is critical to economic success in rural America,” US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement that counted 31,000 people who could be helped in states including Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho and Montana. New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas.

Here are some resources for translating the story:

AP’s latest coverage

Feds: $401 million will add high-speed internet to rural areas of the United States

Explainer: What will the $65 billion broadband service plan do

Where does the money come from?

Funding through the government ReConnect An award funded by the Ministry of Agriculture Telecommunication Infrastructure Loan Guarantee Program.

Vilsack said the department is planning more spending in the coming weeks as part of a $65 billion Biden administration plan To use bipartisan US Bailout and Infrastructure Act funds to expand affordable, high-speed Internet to all communities in the United States

Where does the money go?

Rural areas and towns with a population of 5,000 or less qualify, along with federally recognized tribes. Applicants must serve an area where high-speed Internet download speeds are below 100 megabits per second (mbps) and upload is less than 20 megabits per second. The applicant must commit to providing high-speed Internet at download and upload speeds of up to 100 Mbps at each location in its service area.

– The ReConnect In August 2021 allocated $167 million For projects in 12 states: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

– Earlier this month, the program dedicated $21 million To expand high-speed Internet in two rural counties in upstate New York.

Almost Thursday $401 million in grants and loans going to:

Alaska: Bristol Bay Telephone Association, $34.9 million; Alaska Power and Cordless Telephone $29.3 million; Unicom, $31 million; Cordova phone $21.4 million.

Arizona: Table Top Telephone Co. , $3.7 million.

Arizona and Idaho: Midvale Telephone Co. , $10.6 million.

Arizona and New Mexico: Valley Telephone Cooperative $44.9 million.

Arkansas: Arkansas Telephone Company, $11.9 million.

California: Volcano Telephone Company, $28.3 million; Ponderosa Telephone Company, $12.9 million.

Colorado: San Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative, $2 million.

Montana: Blackfoot Telephone Cooperative, $4 million; Nemont Telephone Association, $25 million.

Montana and North Dakota: $18.5 million reservation telephone cooperative.

New Mexico: Continental Divide Electric Cooperative Inc. , $3.7 million; ENMR telephone cooperative, $14.7 million; PeƱasco Valley Telephone Cooperative, $28.9 million; Tularosa Dock Phone Company, $11.6 million.

Nevada: Uprise LLC, $27.2 million.

Texas: Central Texas Telephone Cooperative, $19.6 million; Five District Telephone Cooperatives, $16.6 million.

Publishable context

The persistent divide in the US between broadband haves and have-nots – dubbed the “digital divide” – became starkly clear when school, work and health care turned online during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Federal Communications Commission has estimated that millions of Americans do not have access to broadband at the speed needed to work and study online – 25 Mbps for download and 3 Mbps for upload. Outgroups made higher ratings.

Government subsidies to fund industry upgrades have focused on places where customers are scattered and companies have no incentives to build infrastructure because they may not get their money back.

Affordability of internet service is also a concern. Mitch Landrieu, the White House infrastructure coordinator, told reporters Wednesday that the government’s infrastructure plan also sets aside money to provide $30 a month in interest to help low-income people pay their Internet bill.