USDA investing $29 million to provide broadband service to rural Oklahoma

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WASHINGTON (KFOR) – Residents in rural parts of the state will soon have more access to broadband service following a decision by the USDA.

The United States Department of Agriculture is investing more than $29 million to provide broadband service to underserved rural areas in Oklahoma.

“The need for rural broadband has never been more apparent than it is now – as our nation manages the coronavirus national emergency. Access to telehealth services, remote learning for school children, and remote business operations all require access to broadband,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “I am so proud of our rural communities who have been working day in and day out, just like they always do, producing the food and fiber America depends on. We need them more than ever during these trying times, and expanding access to this critical infrastructure will help ensure rural America prospers for years to come.”

Pioneer Telephone Cooperative will use a $24.2 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 4,480 people, 595 farms, 44 businesses, and two fire stations to high-speed broadband internet in Blaine, Dewey, Ellis, and Kingfisher counties.

Cimarron Telephone Company will use a $5.4 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 746 people, 107 farms, and three businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Pawnee and Osage counties.

“As our country continues to fight COVID-19, the need for rural broadband has never been more apparent. Access to broadband, and programs like ReConnect, are crucial to our communities, especially as schools continue to discuss safe ways to reopen and navigate remote learning,” said Congressman Frank Lucas. “I thank Secretary Perdue and the Trump Administration for their continued investment in Oklahoma’s rural broadband- as today’s investment will bring service to more than 5,000 Oklahomans, more than 700 family farms, and nearly 50 Main Street businesses in the heart of Oklahoma’s Third District. From Main Street to the classroom to the doctor’s office, broadband will continue to play a role in our daily lives, and I look forward to working with Sen. Inhofe, Governor Stitt, and Secretary Arthur to ensure more Oklahomans have access to this critical infrastructure.”

 This investment is part of the $100 million in grant funding made available for the ReConnect Pilot Program through the CARES Act.

“The need for rural broadband has never been more apparent than it is now – as our nation manages the coronavirus national emergency. Access to telehealth services, remote learning for school children, and remote business operations all require access to broadband,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.“I am so proud of our rural communities who have been working day in and day out, just like they always do, producing the food and fiber America depends on. We need them more than ever during these trying times, and expanding access to this critical infrastructure will help ensure rural America prospers for years to come.”

“All of Oklahoma is a top priority for the Trump Administration and Secretary Perdue—proven yet again by the investment of more than $29 million today,” said Inhofe. “High speed internet is vital for rural communities as it promotes innovation in agriculture and access to health services and education. All Americans deserve 21st century broadband infrastructure to access our 21st century economy. I look forward to seeing the expansion of broadband in rural areas and the growth that it will provide to Oklahoma’s overall economy.”

“COVID-19 has emphasized the important role a robust broadband infrastructure plays in the success of our state, especially for our rural communities” said Governor Kevin Stitt. “High speed internet increases access to a quality education, affordable healthcare, enhanced agriculture and expanded economic opportunity. While we have made significant progress over the past year, moving from 47th to 26th in broadband access, there is still work to be done. I thank President Trump and Secretary Purdue for their investment in our rural broadband system and their commitment to help us in our vision to improve connectivity for all 4 million Oklahomans.”

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