WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), along with Congressmen Rick Crawford (AR-01) and Steve Womack (AR-03), applauded the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) $11.8 million broadband investment in rural Arkansas. The members participated in a virtual event with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue where he announced funding will support three high-speed broadband infrastructure projects to improve rural broadband in Pope, Van Buren, Stone and Marion counties.
“I’m proud to support the ReConnect Program and advocate for Arkansas applicants who want to help strengthen rural infrastructure and close the digital divide. USDA’s investment in our state will provide more homes, businesses and essential community services with reliable access to high-speed internet,” said Boozman co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus.
“Reliable connectivity is now almost essential for work, education, and even healthcare access. I appreciate Secretary Perdue’s continued support for rural America and his investment in these Arkansas communities. The future of North Central Arkansas – and the rest of rural America – is brighter because of this Administration,” Crawford said.
“Connecting our rural communities to reliable, high-speed broadband has never been more important. These investments will provide internet services to Third District Arkansans, supporting economic development, education, and telehealth services. I thank Secretary Perdue and USDA for being a strong partner to the Natural State,” Womack said.
“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 Sec. 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.”
The Arkansas Telephone Company was awarded $4.1 million to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 491 people, 92 farms and four businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Pope and Van Buren counties.
The Northern Arkansas Telephone Company will receive $4.7 million in ReConnect funds to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 1,202 people, 68 farms and six businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Marion County.
Mountain View Telephone Company will use $2.9 million to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 1,331 people, 39 farms, six businesses, two fire stations and one post office to high-speed broadband internet in Stone County.
USDA launched the ReConnect Program in December 2018 to facilitate broadband deployment.