RICHMOND, Va., Nov. 6, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development office in Virginia today announced that USDA is investing more than $14.7 million in infrastructure projects to bring broadband to Dickenson, Buchanan, Accomack and Northampton, Virginia.

 

The announcement comes as a part of Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett’s national announcement today in West Virginia that USDA is investing more than $200 million in infrastructure projects to bring broadband to hundreds of unserved and underserved rural communities.

 

“Broadband infrastructure is vital to our economy and quality of life in rural America.  Yet, today nearly 40 percent of rural residents and businesses lack access to the same quality service available in urban centers,” Hazlett said.  “Under Secretary Perdue’s leadership, USDA is working hard to bridge this gap.  From access to health care to workforce training and connection to global markets, broadband is truly a lifeline to prosperity in rural communities.”

 

Hazlett announced that USDA is awarding grants in West Virginia, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington, as well as loans to expand broadband in rural areas. The loans will provide new or improved broadband access for more than 71,000 residents and businesses in 74 counties in rural parts of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

 

These awards are being financed through USDA’s Telecommunications Program, which has partnerships with more than 500 telecommunications providers nationwide. USDA is announcing $204 million in loans and grants today.

 

Declaration Networks Group will receive a $8,700,000 loan to build a wireless broadband system in Accomack and Northampton Counties in Virginia and Garrett County in Maryland. The company will offer data and Voice Over Internet Protocol services.

 

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.