Federal government helps fund expansion of local broadband

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director Margi Hoffmann today announced that the Department is providing over $35 million in loans and grants to bring high-speed internet access to rural communities along Oregon’s coast. This funding, announced as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s $759 million investment in nationwide high-speed internet access, will bring affordable high-speed internet to nearly 5000 people, 100 businesses, 579 farms and two educational facilities in Benton, Lane, Lincoln and Polk Counties.

“Fast, reliable internet is essential for the growth and prosperity of Oregon’s rural communities,” Hoffmann said. “By partnering with local utilities and cooperatives, USDA will make sure that even our most rural households, farms and businesses have a chance to build a brighter, more connected future. These investments are just one of the many ways President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is tangibly improving lives here in Oregon and across the United States.”

Today’s investments include funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a historic $65 billion to expand reliable, affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the U.S. The $35 million in loans and grants comes from the third funding round of the ReConnect Program. Today’s announcement includes:

  • Pioneer Telephone Cooperative (Pioneer Connect) of Philomath, OR will use $24.9 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 3,570 people, 558 farms and 72 businesses to high-speed internet in Benton, Lincoln and Polk counties in Oregon. Pioneer Telephone Cooperative will make high-speed internet affordable by participating in the FCC's Affordable Connectivity and Lifeline program
  • Siuslaw Broadband LLC (Hyak) of Florence, OR will use a $10.6 million loan to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 1,407 people, 28 businesses, 21 farms and two educational facilities to high-speed internet in Lane County, Oregon.

In 2022, the Department has announced $1.6 billion from the third round of ReConnect funding. The Department is expected to call for Distance Learning and Telehealth grant applications in the near future. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/or or follow USDA Rural Development Oregon on Twitter @RD_Oregon.

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