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rural development

A Uniquely Alaskan Solution to Bring Broadband to an Isolated Gulf Community

Imagine building a broadband network where there are no roads to move supplies, or electrical grids to power cellular towers. Yakutat is an isolated community of about 650 tucked into a sheltered bay off the Gulf of Alaska, disconnected from the road system, and hundreds of miles from Alaska population centers. Like many remote Alaskan villages, most residents in Yakutat adopt a subsistence form of living, depending heavily off the land and sea to survive. For Yakutat, which has a substantial Alaska Native population and struggles with a fifteen percent poverty rate, modern conveniences like fast internet are unavailable.

Farming in the 21st Century Requires Being Connected

As you step onto Bebb Farms in rural Labette County, Kan., you see tractors, combines, sprayers, grain bins, and semis. All necessary equipment on a Kansas farm, but perhaps the most important equipment you don’t see is the Internet.

Connecting South Dakota’s Rural Communities to Opportunities in Business, Education, Health Care and Beyond

In early December, I had the privilege of announcing a USDA Rural Development ReConnect Pilot Program investment of more than $9.5 million to Valley Telecommunications Cooperative Association, Inc. dba Valley FiberCom in Flandreau, South Dakota. This investment will help Valley deploy high-speed broadband internet e-Connectivity to more than 1,750 rural households, 27 farms, 17 businesses and one critical community facility.

New Youngsville, Louisiana High School, Funded by USDA, Helps Drive Community Growth, Prosperity

It was almost 50 years since a new high school was constructed in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana. Now, thanks to support from USDA Rural Development, the 8,000 residents of Youngsville, a growing community in the parish, have a state-of-the-art school: one that all area high school students attend with pride.

Dedication to both Work and Tribe

Patti Shay, management support assistant, has been with Rural Development for 19 years, at the Maine state office, in Bangor. She also is a tribal member of the Penobscot Nation, located in Old Town.

On National Rural Health Day, Emergency Healthcare Starts Home

North Dakota is a remarkable agricultural state and very rural. Farms and ranches dominate hundreds of miles of roads, and distances between services can be great. With so much wide-open space, our first responders and medical facilities play critical roles in ensuring the health and safety of our agricultural producers. Recently, their expertise and professionalism saved the life of a coworker and good friend.

Why Reconnecting Our Rural Communities Matters

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!

A High-Speed Boost for Rural Tennessee

If you’ve ever had to travel to get access to the internet – whether to a library or a restaurant in a nearby town, or any other community resource that has that critical connection to the world of information – you understand the excitement we have here in Tennessee as the first state to announce a project funded through USDA’s ReConnect rural broadband infrastructure program.

Co-ops: By the Community, For the Community

Tina Borg knows all too well the challenges of limited internet access.

At home, her family in Barnes County, N.D., often relied on a cell phone hotspot. However, their ability to access information was frequently constrained by their phone plan’s data limits. Tina routinely had to drive to the next town to access the internet, or she had to rely upon whatever books happened to be available for the four children that she home schools.