Oklahoma Farm Bureau applauds today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to invest $26.4 million to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved areas in rural Oklahoma.
The investment, part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect Program, will grant internet access to 5,996 people and 228 farms across Atoka, Comanche, Haskell and Muskogee counties.
“OKFB appreciates the USDA’s additional $26.4 million investment in rural communities to provide broadband access in four Oklahoma counties,” said Rodd Moesel, OKFB president. “Reliable internet access is no longer a luxury but a necessity for day-to-day life in 2020. Expanding broadband throughout our rural communities has been a priority for Farm Bureau members for years, so we’re hopeful this investment is one of many to come as we work to bring all rural Oklahomans online.”
Cross Cable Television LLC will receive a $15.8 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 2,815 people, 125 farms, nine businesses, one educational facility and a fire department to high-speed broadband internet in Haskell and Muskogee counties.
A $6.9 million ReConnect grant will be provided to Pine Telephone Company Inc. to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 2,099 people, 82 farms, 30 businesses, two fire stations, a post office and a public school to high-speed broadband internet in Atoka County.
Medicine Park Telephone Company will use a $3.7 million ReConnect loan to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 1,082 people, 21 farms and 16 businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Comanche County.
“Access to a high-speed internet connection is a cornerstone of prosperity, and unfortunately many of America’s rural communities lack access to this critical infrastructure,” USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to leveraging all available resources and being a strong partner to rural communities in deploying high-speed broadband e-Connectivity to the people, businesses and community facilities that don’t have access yet. Connecting America’s rural communities to this essential infrastructure is one of USDA’s top priorities, because we know that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
To learn more about the ReConnect grant program, visit www.usda.gov/reconnect.