Washington--Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday that USDA’s Telecommunication Infrastructure Loan Program is now offering nearly $192 million in loans to rural telecommunication companies, for projects that extend broadband services to rural customers. Administered by USDA’s Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service, these loans are expected to add thousands of miles of cable across rural portions of eight states.
“A significant portion of America still does not have adequate broadband for job and economic development activities,” Vilsack said in a USDA press release. “Working with our partners, including cooperatives and the telecommunications industry, USDA delivers broadband to rural areas, creating jobs and providing critical financial, education and health care services.”
This recent investment of $192 million in loans to telecommunication companies is just part of an overall $690 million investment during the 2011 fiscal year, and is in addition to the $3.5 billion in broadband funding provided by the RUS under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The Telecommunication Infrastructure Loan Program is designed to provide funds for facilities, equipment upgrades, expansions and maintenance of rural telecommunications networks. Funding for each recipient is contingent upon the needs of the rural communities in which they operate and upon their ability to meet the conditions of the loan agreements.