The Biden administration on Monday continued its push to achieve universal internet access by 2030, announcing about $667 million in new grants and loans to build more broadband infrastructure in rural America

Mitch Landrieu said: “Through this investment, we will provide funding to communities across the country because we believe that no child should be able to do it sitting in the backseat of a mom’s car in a McDonald’s parking lot homework.”, white house infrastructure coordinatorin an interview with reporters.

The 37 new recipients represent the fourth round of funding for the program, dubbed “ReConnect” by USDA. An additional 37 projects announced in April and June received $771.4 million in grants and loans.

Funding flowing through federal broadband programs, including those announced Monday and a $42.5 billion infrastructure plan Detailed earlier this summer, This will lead to new changes in the “electrification of rural America,” Landriu said, repeating a common parlance of the Biden administration.

The biggest award went to Ponderosa Telephone Company of California, which received more than $42 million to deploy a fiber optic network in Fresno County. According to the USDA, this effort alone will benefit more than 1,200 people, 12 farms and 26 other businesses.

Telephone cooperatives, counties and telecommunications companies receiving new awards span 22 states and the Marshall Islands.

At least half of households in areas receiving the new funding don’t have access to internet speeds of 100 megabits per second download and 20 Mbps upload — what the federal government considers “underserved” in broadband lingo. Recipients are tasked with building a network that increases upload speeds to at least 100 Mbps upload and 100 Mbps download for every home, business and farm in its service area.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the investments could lead to new economic opportunities for farmers, telemedicine access to specialists for people without close access to health care, and increased academic programs, including high school prerequisites.

“I’m very excited that this administration understands and recognizes the need to continue investing in rural America to create more opportunity,” Vilsack said on a media call.

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