U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith Announce Funding from U.S. Department of Agriculture to Help Expand High-Speed Internet Access in Rural Areas

WASHINGTON, June 27th, 2024 – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-Minn.) announced $25 million in funding availability from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to increase high-speed internet access in rural and Tribal communities. The funding is made available through the USDA’s Broadband Technical Assistance (BTA) Program, part of the Biden Administration’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to connect every community in America with affordable, reliable, high-speed internet.

“We should be able to bring high-speed internet to every family in Minnesota— regardless of their zip code,” said Klobuchar. “This funding will ensure that the broadband upgrades going on across our state also reach our rural areas. As co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, I’ll keep working across the aisle to make sure all Minnesotans can reliably access the high-speed internet they need.”

“Internet access is not just a luxury in the 21st century, it’s a necessity,” said Senator Smith.“In Minnesota and across the country, people in rural areas, small towns, and Tribal communities need access to reliable, high-speed internet. Investing in broadband infrastructure with the Broadband Technical Assistance Program is a step in the right direction, helping connect communities in every part of the country to high-speed internet and strengthening communities from the ground up.”

The program will support local governments, organizations, cooperatives, and Tribes as they work to expand broadband access in rural communities, delivering on President Biden’s promise to invest in infrastructure and strengthen the economy from the inside out. This includes funding infrastructure studies, network designs, hiring efforts, application assistance and more.

The announcement marks the second round of funding for the program. In its first round, the program received 96 applications requesting a total of $44.5 million.

In this round, applicants may apply through one of two funding categories: theTechnical Assistance Providers category accepts applicants seeking to deliver broadband technical assistance to rural communities; The Technical Assistance Recipients category includes applicants who would benefit from broadband technical assistance.

Applications for the funding opened on June 21, 2024, and must be submitted electronically using Grants.gov no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on August 20, 2024.

Additional information is available on page 52012 of the June 21, 2024, Federal Register.