Two area companies to use grants for broadband in rural sections of region

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $7.1 million in high-speed broadband for infrastructure projects in rural Arkansas. Two companies in this area are participating.

The USDA said Yelcot Communications will use a $1.7 million ReConnect Program grant, and a $1.7 million loan to upgrade facilities from copper cable and drops to a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network. It is expected to connect 548 households in Baxter and Marion Counties.

The Mountain View Telephone Company will use a $3.7 million dollar ReConnect Program grant to also upgrade facilities from copper cable and drops to a fiber-to-the-home network. It is expected to connect 702 households, 15 pre-subscribed farms, and a pre-subscribed business in Stone County.

In March of 2018, Congress provided $600 million dollars to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America. The federal government received 146 applications between May 31, 2019, and July 12, 2019, requesting $1.4 billion in funding.  Less than half of those applications could be funded.

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