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Rural communities targeted in new round of USDA grants


WASHINGTON D.C. (KIFI/KIDK)-The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced $43.2 million in grants and loans to improve broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas of Idaho, Oregon, and Nevada.

Direct Communications Rockland, Inc. will use a $9.8 million ReConnect grant and a $9.8 million loan to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network in Bear Lake, Power, Franklin, and Oneida counties.  It will serve 2,064 people, including 118 farms, 30 businesses, a post office and fire station.

Midvale Telephone Company will use a $5.4 million ReConnect grant and matching loan to deploy fiber to customers in Washington, Custer, Blaine, Valley and Idaho counties.

“So many rural communities across the west and across the nation need this critical infrastructure to prosper,” USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Jim Hubbard said. “This funding will allow for economic expansion, opportunity, and increased quality of life in these rural communities, which is desperately needed.”

The grants and loans are part of the second round of ReConnect funding Congress authorized.

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