$714 Million Investment in Closing the Rural Digital Divide

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member David Scott today released the below statement after U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $714 million in grants and loans to connect thousands of rural residents, farmers, and business owners across 19 states to reliable, affordable high-speed internet. Connecting all communities across the United States to high-speed internet is a central part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to rebuild our economy by rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, which is driving over $470 billion in private sector manufacturing investments and creating good-paying jobs.

“Reliable high-speed internet access is crucial for businesses to access and compete in markets, improve education attainment, and provide for the health, safety, and well-being of our communities,” said Ranking Member Scott. “The digital divide is real and it hurts rural America. Rural residents are twice as likely as urban ones to lack high-speed internet at home and the majority of people who do not have internet access live in rural areas. The historic $700 million investment in closing the digital divide in rural America will create jobs, allow our farmers to use the latest precision agricultural technology, empower rural businesses to get goods and services to market, and connect rural students with education. I applaud the Biden-Harris Administration for its efforts to ensure rural America can take full advantage of all the opportunity that access to reliable high-speed internet provides.”

Under President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $65 billion to connect all of America to high-speed internet through the Internet for All initiative. USDA is connecting more people to high-speed internet in this fourth funding round of the ReConnect Program. Since the beginning of the Biden-Harris Administration, the Department has invested in 142 ReConnect projects that will bring high-speed internet access to 314,000 rural Americans.

Today’s announcement includes $714 million in USDA investments in Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Washington.