Biden administration pours millions more into rural broadband expansion


Another $667 million in new grants for broadband expansion in the nation’s rural areas was announced Monday by the Biden administration, but none was included for projects in Oklahoma.

Telephone cooperatives, counties and telecommunications companies in 22 states and the Marshall Islands received the funding.

“With this investment, we’re getting funding to communities in every corner of the country because we believe that no kid should have to sit in the back of a mama’s car in a McDonald’s parking lot in order to do homework,” said Mitch Landrieu, the White House’s infrastructure coordinator, in a call with reporters.

Thirty-seven recipients make up the fourth round of funding under the USDA program called ReConnect. In April and June, a previous 37 projects received $771.4 million in grants and loans.

Among the states included in this round are: Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Missouri will receive $75.9 million which represents more than 10% of the total. Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Company will get an $8.8 million grant to expand its fiber service to 1,188 customers, 15 businesses and 256 farms in Schuyler and Scotland counties.

Mountain View Rural Fiber LLC will receive a $24.8 million grant to provide service to 5,519 people, 298 businesses, 46 farms and 29 educational facilities in Howell, Shannon and Texas counties.

The largest award went to the Ponderosa Telephone Co. in California, which received more than $42 million to deploy fiber networks in Fresno County. In total, more than 1,200 people, 12 farms and 26 other businesses will benefit from that effort alone, according to USDA.