USDA provides $6.3 million to bring high-speed internet access to Western Wyoming
Funding Includes Awards Made Possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
CASPER, Wyo., Nov. 1, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development (RD) State Director Glenn Pauley announced that the Department is providing $6.3 million to bring high-speed internet access to people living and working in Lincoln and Teton counties. Today’s investments include funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a historic $65 billion to expand reliable, affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the U.S.
“Today, access to reliable high-speed internet is more important than ever. Our rural communities cannot sustain without it; having a connection to the outside world helps our students learn and keeps our small businesses open,” Pauley said.
A $6.3 million ReConnect grant was awarded to Silver Star Telephone Company, Inc., to provide high-speed internet services to underserved areas in western Wyoming. The expanded network is estimated to connect 475 people, 15 businesses, two agricultural operations, and two public schools in the Game Creek and Fall Creek areas in Teton County, and Forest Dell in Lincoln County.
USDA is making 49 awards in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wyoming, Puerto Rico, Guam and Palau.
The $759 million in loans and grants comes from the third funding round of the ReConnect Program. In 2022, the Department has announced $1.6 billion from the third round of ReConnect funding. Previously, RD announced a $9.59 million ReConnect grant for Tri County Telephone Association Inc. to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network that will connect 204 people, 15 businesses and 19 agricultural operations to high-speed internet in Big Horn, Hot Springs, Park, Sheridan and Washakie counties.
Background: ReConnect Program
To be eligible for ReConnect Program funding, an applicant must serve an area that does not have access to service at speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) (download) and 20 Mbps (upload). The applicant must also commit to building facilities capable of providing high-speed internet service with speeds of 100 Mbps (download and upload) to every location in its proposed service area.
Background: Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
President Biden forged consensus and compromise between Democrats, Republicans and Independents to demonstrate our democracy can deliver big wins for the American people. After decades of talk on rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, President Biden delivered the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – a historic investment in America that will change people’s lives for the better and get America moving again.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $65 billion to ensure every American has access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet through a historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment. The legislation also lowers costs for internet service and helps close the digital divide, so that more Americans can take full advantage of the opportunities provided by internet access.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.