The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service announced that they will be investing $5.13 million in rural broadband in Utah and Western Colorado by connecting some 675 households in the area. This funding will come from the first round of the USDA’s ReConnect Pilot Program, which is working toward connecting rural America.
Randy Packer, the state director of USDA Rural Development Utah talks about how this will benefit people in Utah living in rural areas.
“There’s two things," he said. " It allows them on the production side to be connected to the most up-to-date research and information that’s available for what they do. And then the second part of it is they can use e-commerce side of it and look at what their opportunities are - not just from a local sales standpoint, but from a regional, national, and even an international standpoint.”
Two companies in Utah received investment dollars. Beehive Telephone Company Inc. received $2.4 million to develop a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network in Garfield, Wayne and Box Elder counties. Emery Telecommunications & Video Inc. received $2.7 million to develop FTTP in San Juan County in Utah and Dolores County in Colorado.
“Our rural citizens are probably some of the most isolated communities," said Packer. "This is an opportunity for the federal government to help this segment of the US population here in Utah."
This program is estimated to benefit 1,700 rural residents in Utah and Colorado.