Spanberger: Applications Now Open for USDA’s New Rural Broadband Loan & Grant Program

The Congresswoman is Encouraging Central Virginia Communities to Apply for Funding through the USDA’s new ReConnect Rural Broadband Pilot Program

HENRICO, V.A. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today is encouraging Central Virginia communities to submit their applications to receive newly available funding for rural broadband internet infrastructure improvements.

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is accepting the first round of applications for its ReConnect Rural Broadband Pilot Program, which partners with rural communities and businesses to expand high-speed broadband internet infrastructure and increase e-Connectivity in rural and underserved areas. Spanberger is calling on Central Virginians to submit their applications for the ReConnect Program, so that more working families, farmers, and business owners in Virginia’s Seventh District can enjoy access to reliable high-speed internet.

Applications for ReConnect Program funding can be submitted here. For additional information about the application process from USDA, click here.

“In rural America, a lack of reliable broadband internet access is an issue of equal opportunity. Disparities between our urban and rural areas make it harder for rural businesses to stay competitive, students to finish their homework, and first responders to keep track of minute-by-minute emergency updates. To help combat the growing urban-rural divide in our country, we need to support local projects that can successfully promote improved access to high-speed internet,” said Spanberger. “Right now, our rural communities can now apply for this important, groundbreaking funding through the Reconnect Program. I’m proud to champion smart, bipartisan efforts like this program to expand internet access for our rural homes, schools, and businesses—and I’ll keep fighting to support critical infrastructure investments across Central Virginia.”

Since arriving in Congress, Spanberger has stressed the immediate need to expand high-speed internet access in Central Virginia’s rural communities. Earlier this month, Spanberger led a bipartisan effort urging key House Appropriations Committee members to boost funding for rural broadband internet infrastructure—including through the ReConnect Program. And Spanberger also introduced and passed an amendment to improve the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) broadband internet data—and she articulated the need for improved FCC maps on the floor of the U.S. House.

During her first House Agriculture Committee hearing, Spanberger asked USDA Secretary Perdue about his thoughts on expanding rural broadband. Spanberger also invited Secretary Perdue to visit her district to hear directly from Central Virginia farmers and dairy producers, and get their feedback on current USDA policies and 2018 Farm Bill implementation. He accepted her invitation. Click here for a full video of her remarks.

A proud member of the House Agriculture Committee, Spanberger is working to expand rural broadband internet connectivity across rural America and to ensure equal educational and economic opportunities in rural communities. According to the FCC’s 2018 Broadband Deployment Report, more than 30 percent of Americans in rural areas lack access to fixed terrestrial broadband at speeds of 25 Mbps/3 Mbps—compared to only 2 percent of Americans in urban areas.

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