USDA Partners with Delta Montrose Electric Association and Invests $10.5 Million in High-Speed Broadband

ReConnect Funding to Empower Western Colorado

DENVER, Colo., Aug. 11, 2021 – – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $167 million in 12 states to deploy broadband infrastructure in rural areas without sufficient access to high-speed internet.

“Generations ago, the federal government recognized that without affordable access to electricity, Americans couldn’t fully participate in modern society and the modern economy. Broadband internet is the new electricity. It is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning and health care, and to stay connected,” Secretary Vilsack said. “This is why President Biden’s American Jobs Plan prioritizes building ‘future-proof’ broadband infrastructure – like the investments we’re announcing today – in areas without sufficient access to broadband, so that we finally reach 100 percent high-speed broadband coverage.”

Delta Montrose Electric Association, headquartered in Montrose, Colo., will use a $10.5 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network in rural Colorado. The funded service area includes 2,410 households, 6,877 people, three educational facilities, 89 businesses and 115 farms spread over 126 square miles.

LISTEN TO THE EXCLUSIVE PRESS CONFERENCE AUDIO, obtained by The BARN & the Colorado Ag News Network

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The investments being announced today are part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect Program as well as other funds made available for the program since 2018. USDA expects to begin inviting applications for a third round of program funds in the coming weeks.

USDA’s ReConnect Program provides loans and grants to construct, improve or acquire facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas. To learn more about ReConnect Program eligibility, technical assistance and recent announcements, visit www.usda.gov/reconnect.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/co.

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.