The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today launched a new webpage highlighting the importance of rural e-connectivity, as well as ways USDA is helping to deploy high-speed broadband infrastructure in rural America. Featured on the new page is information about a new USDA pilot program backed by $600 million in appropriated funding for a combination grant and loan program administered by the agency to help provide broadband service to underserved rural and tribal areas. That program, USDA said in March when funding was approved by Congress, will “leverage nearly $1 billion in total new rural broadband projects.” USDA said in a press release that the website “includes a feedback form for the general public and interested stakeholders to provide input on the design and requirements of the new pilot program.” Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a statement, “Rural high-speed broadband e-Connectivity is as important for economic development as rail, roads, bridges and airports–and as vital as the buildouts of rural telephone networks were decades ago … USDA is committed to being a strong partner with rural leaders in deploying this essential infrastructure.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.