USDA ENCOURAGES PRIVATE INVESTMENT IN EXPANSION OF ACCESS TO HIGH-SPEED INTERNET TECHNOLGY IN RURAL AMERICA
$2.157 Billion Available To Invest In Technology
WASHINGTON, March 11, 2005 - Agriculture Acting Under Secretary for Rural Development Gilbert Gonzalez today encouraged private companies to leverage over $2.1 billion in USDA funds to expand access to high-speed Internet technology in rural areas.
"This is an investment by the Bush Administration in the future economic vitality of America's rural communities," said Gonzalez. "Accelerating the availability of broadband technologies in more remote rural communities increases their ability to effectively compete in domestic and global markets."
As part of President Bush's goal to expand high-speed access to every household by the year 2007, USDA Rural Development is aggressively working to provide qualified borrowers with investment funding needed to expand such infrastructure. Since the beginning of the Bush Administration, over $3.3 billion in rural telecommunications loan and grants have been invested in rural areas, resulting in over 1.3 million rural subscribers gaining access to high-speed Internet technologies.
The funding announcement for the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee program was made, via a Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA), on March 4, 2005, in the Federal Register. Funding available in FY 2005 totals $2.157 billion in loans. This amount includes $2.032 billion for direct cost-of-money loans, $46 million for direct 4-percent loans, and $79 million for loan guarantees.
USDA Rural Development's mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As a venture capital entity, Rural Development has invested over $50 billion since the beginning of the Bush Administration to provide equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. As a result, over 800,000 jobs have been created or saved through these investments. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA's web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov .