USDA announces $1.15 billion in rural communities broadband service

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CATSKILL – Saying “every student deserves to be able to do their homework from home; every small business owner deserves the tools necessary to complete in a world-wide marketplace,” USDA Undersecretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small announced the availability of up to $1.15 billion to expand high-speed broadband in rural communities.

The federal official made the announcement of the ReConnect Program in Catskill on Saturday.

“Broadband is not a luxury – it is a necessity,” said Congressman Antonio Delgado (D, NY-19), who broad Small to Greene County to make the announcement.

Beginning November 24, USDA will accept applications for up to $1.15 billion in loans and grants to expand the availability of broadband in rural areas.

“Broadband has become the modern-day critical infrastructure,” said Greene County Legislature Chairman Pat Linger. The county legislature is “committed to providing 100 percent broadband coverage in Greene County.”

He said following the county’s development of detailed, house-level mapping, “we are poised at this time to apply for grant funding to accomplish this goal.”