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Why Reconnecting Our Rural Communities Matters

Posted by Debbie Turbeville, South Carolina State Director, USDA Rural Development in Broadband Rural
Nov 13, 2019
The Till Family Farm
The Till Family Farm in Orangeburg County is a five-generation operation that raises cattle, corn, and soybeans. (Front L-R are Whitney and Jeff Till, farm owners, as well as Jacob Till, Jeff’s father and co-owner. Behind them is Jeff and Whitney’s son Tyler, the farm operator.)

You may be reading this blog entry from your desk workstation, or perhaps a laptop in a coffee shop. You might even be perusing this on your smartphone. It’s a common, everyday occurrence that can easily be taken for granted. Unfortunately, in many parts of rural South Carolina – it’s not only a luxury to have broadband internet access, it’s not even possible!

Secretary Perdue has made the investment in rural broadband a priority for USDA Rural Development and is doing it through our ReConnect broadband infrastructure program. It’s still considered a pilot project, and I’m thrilled that South Carolina is one of the first states to see investment from this new opportunity.

The Secretary recently joined us here in Orangeburg County to announce that USDA was providing the financial backing to bring nearly 4,000 rural families, as well as farms, schools, businesses, and health and public safety facilities online using high speed fiber to the premises.

It’s hard to overstate just how transformative this will be for the region. It’s a generational leap in communications technology that will not only bring the world and a wealth of resources within the grasp of these communities – it will give South Carolina a greater opportunity to share itself with the world.

This investment in high speed broadband by Orangeburg County through its partnership with USDA Rural Development will impact broad sectors of our local economy. Education, health care, emergency services, business development, manufacturing, precision agriculture – really the list is staggering when you consider the implications.

And it does circle back to partnership. Here we have various sectors of the community working with Orangeburg County, and the county working with USDA, ultimately all of us working to promote rural prosperity together; and together, America prospers.

Orangeburg County Council Chair Johnnie Wright, Sr. and Secretary Perdue
Orangeburg County Council Chair Johnnie Wright, Sr. welcomes Secretary Perdue to the county administration building where they announced the ReConnect program award that will bring high speed broadband to nearly 4,000 families and businesses in rural South Carolina.
Category/Topic: Broadband Rural