Last year USDA Rural Development awarded more than $10 million in ReConnect Program funding to bring high-speed internet access to Madison County, New York. USDA’s ReConnect Program offers loans and grants to construct, improve, and build equipment to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.
This past week, I had the opportunity to check in on their project that will connect more than 7,500 homes and businesses to high-speed internet. I joined the County Chairman, John Becker, and some fellow town supervisors to speak with the engineers who were busily preparing for the installation of the fiber line along roadways.
I also had the chance to talk with some of the residents that were anxiously awaiting their high-speed internet hookups. Time and time again their comments confirmed that Madison County was the right place to make this investment. From the students that need to travel miles to their school’s hot-spot site to do their homework, to addressing concerns that the elderly had about the lack of access to their doctors via telemedicine, this project will truly be life changing for this community.
USDA Rural Development recently announced a $401 million investment for high-speed internet access in rural areas through the ReConnect Program. And on September 6, 2022, applications will open for a new round of funding. I encourage all eligible rural New York communities seeking to narrow the digital divide to consider the ReConnect Program.
To learn more about the program and if your rural community may qualify, please visit www.usda.gov/reconnect and www.rd.usda.gov/ny. For any additional questions or concerns about the programs, please contact the Syracuse, New York State Office at (315) 477-6400 ext. 4.