Oklahoma Farm Bureau welcomes the USDA’s recent investment of more than $29 million toward expanding broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas in Oklahoma.
“Though rural Oklahomans have suffered from a lack of reliable broadband access for years, the ongoing global pandemic has heightened the inequalities that exist in internet connectivity among rural, suburban and urban Oklahomans as much of the world has moved online for distance learning, telecommuting and health care services,” said Rodd Moesel, OKFB president. “Expanding access to high-speed internet throughout rural areas of our state has been a priority for Oklahoma Farm Bureau members for many years. Today’s announcement by the USDA is a great step toward bringing more rural residents online, and we look forward to seeing more investments of this nature in the future.”
Pioneer Telephone Cooperative will receive a $24.2 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises, or FTTP, network to connect 4,480 people, 595 farms, 44 businesses and two fire stations to high-speed broadband internet in Blaine, Dewey, Ellis and Kingfisher counties.
A $5.4 million grant will be provided to Cimarron Telephone Company to deploy a FTTP network to connect 746 people, 107 farms and three businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Pawnee and Osage counties.
“I am so proud of our rural communities who have been working day in and day out, just like they always do, producing the food and fiber America depends on,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in a USDA release. “We need them more than ever during these trying times, and expanding access to this critical infrastructure will help ensure rural America prospers for years to come.”
USDA received 11 Round Two ReConnect Program applications that are eligible for the $100 million Congress allocated to the program through the CARES Act. More investments made possible with these resources will be announced in the coming weeks.
Learn more about the USDA ReConnect program at usda.gov/reconnect.