USDA Allocates $714M for Broadband in 19 States despite Americans Having Already Paid for Deployment

By B.N. Frank

A group of telecom experts who call themselves The Irregulators have proven that Americans have already paid for access to high-speed broadband through hardwired connections (see 1, 2) rather than less safe and less secure biologically and environmental harmful Wi-Fi and 5G.  Despite this as well as growing American opposition to wireless and 5G deployment (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continues to support it anyway (see 1, 2, 3, 4) while also ignoring a 2021 federal court ruling in favor of petitioners who sued the agency for NOT updating wireless guidelines (including 5G) since 1996 (see 1, 2).  Of course other government agencies have been funding broadband deployment, too, including the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) which recently announced more grants and loans.

From Fierce Telecom:

USDA serves up $714M in ReConnect funding for 19 states

By Diana Goovaerts

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) dished out a heaping portion of broadband funding on Monday, awarding $714 million from the ReConnect program to cover 33 buildouts in 19 states. The funding tally amounts to nearly two-thirds of the $1.15 billion being allocated as part of ReConnect Round Four.

The money includes just over $420 million in grants and $293.7 million in loans, which will be used to cover more than 90,000 locations including residences, farms, businesses and educational institutions. There were no big names among the award winners, which were instead mostly comprised of utility companies, electric cooperatives and local internet service providers.

“It’s no secret here without government support and without government assistance, it is highly unlikely that a lot of these projects would actually take place,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said during a call with the press. “That would mean that we would have basically two Americas: one America that was connected and one America that wasn’t. The reality is the President feels very, very strongly that we should be one America, especially when it comes to broadband access and the capabilities and opportunities that it creates.”

States receiving funding included Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Washington. A full list of projects can be found here.

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Related: ReConnect Round 4 grants begin to flow

The award is the third in the USDA’s fourth round of ReConnect funding. USDA previously doled out $40 million in April to covering a trio of projects in New Mexico and $17 million in May for a buildout in Vermont. The USDA previously said it was planning to hand out a total of $1.15 billion in Round 4, but an official on the press call noted it is looking at increasing that amount since more funding has become available to the agency.

USDA’s distribution of broadband funding comes as the government gears up to dole out more than $42 billion as part of the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program. According to White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitchell Landreiu, there is “substantial collaboration and coordination” between the USDA and the other agencies responsible for doling out funding under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to ensure “that we’re not duplicating our efforts or laying fiber optic cable in the same place with two separate sets of funds.”

Those agencies would include, of course, the Department of Commerce, which is tasked with handing out $45 billion in funding (including the BEAD money) via the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The NTIA is expected to announce BEAD allocations for each state by the end of this month.

Diana Goovaerts is executive editor for Silverlinings where she covers the multi-cloud and data center beats. She previously held roles as US editor for Mobile World Live, and editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine. You can contact her at

Adding insult to injury, U.S. lawmakers have also been supporting wireless and 5G deployment including with a new bill that may actually worsen the “Digital Divide”.  Groups opposed to this new bill include the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Activist Post reports regularly about government shenanigans and unsafe technologies.  For more information, visit our archives and the following websites:

Top image: Pixabay

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