Missouri is set to receive a $3 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas, reported WGEM-TV. The Trump Administration made the announcement on Wednesday regarding the grant funding that’s part of the $100 million ReConnect Pilot Program made possible through the CARES Act.
“The need for rural broadband has never been more apparent than it is now – as our nation manages the coronavirus national emergency. Access to telehealth services, remote learning for school children, and remote business operations all require access to broadband,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
Big River Broadband will use $2.9 million to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network across Cape Girardeau County. According to the USDA, the network aims to connect 4,839 people, 54 farms, 27 businesses, two public schools, and one fire station to high-speed broadband internet.
The ReConnect Program has entered round two of awarding grants and will be announcing additional recipients in the coming weeks. In Round One, the USDA invested $698 million to bring high-speed broadband e-Connectivity to various homes, businesses, and facilities. The program has connected approximately 167,000 households, 17,000 rural small businesses, and farms, and more than 500 health care centers, educational facilities, and critical community facilities located in 33 states, according to WGEM-TV.