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USDA grant to connect rural Arkansans to internet

Updated: Jan. 21, 2020 at 2:33 PM CST
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STONE COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing millions of dollars into providing internet service to 1,250 people living in rural north-central Arkansas.

Sen. John Boozman’s office announced Tuesday that a $7.1 million USDA grant will fund two high-speed broadband infrastructure projects in Baxter, Marion, and Stone Counties.

“Improving broadband in rural Arkansas is critical to helping families, businesses, and communities stay connected in today’s world,” the senator was quoted as saying. “The ReConnect Program is an important tool that allows USDA to close the digital divide.”

The USDA awarded the grant funds to the Yelcot and Mountain View Telephone Companies.

MVTC will use its $3.7 million ReConnect Program grant to upgrade facilities from copper cable and drops to a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network connecting 702 households, 15 pre-subscribed farms, and pre-subscribed business in Stone County.

YTC will use a $1.7 million grant and a $1.7 million loan to upgrade its facilities to an FTTH network connecting 548 households in Baxter and Marion Counties.

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