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National Grange Applauds USDA's Commitment to Rural Broadband

By National Grange Press Release (8/24/11)

  SEPTEMBER 1, 2011 --

On Tuesday, August 23, The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that rural communities in 18 states will receive more than $103 million in funding for projects that will provide broadband access to underserved rural communities. The money will fund 23 projects across the country and is expected to create hundreds of new jobs.

Ed Luttrell, President of the National Grange, applauded the announcement, saying “the future of businesses, schools, and hospitals in our rural communities depends upon our access to affordable broadband services. There is still a long way to go in regards to bringing these rural communities in line with non-rural communities. In order to bridge that digital divide, we must continue to speak and fight for our underserved communities.”

The majority of this funding is in the form of infrastructure loans, which comprises five projects totaling $90 million. These loans are in addition to the $192 million in loans the USDA announced in late July. About $13 million of the funding is through the USDA’s Community Connect Program, which extends grants to construct, acquire or lease facilities to deploy broadband to economically challenged communities. These projects require a matching contribution and must serve an area where broadband is not available.

Established in 1867, the National Grange has more than 200,000 members in 2,700 communities throughout 40 states of the United States. The organization meets annually to develop its legislative policy for the coming year, and to recognize the talents of its members. This year, the national convention will be held Nov. 8 to 11 in Tulsa, Okla.

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