LOUISVILLE – Wabash Communications was awarded nearly $13 million Wednesday to expand broadband internet services to rural areas of Jefferson and Wayne County. The grant/loan combination award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be used to install almost 300 miles of fiber internet lines in northeastern Jefferson and western Wayne Counties.
Among those in attendance was Bill Northey, the Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation for the USDA. He said the installation of broadband internet will help the rural areas lead into the future of agriculture and give residents a better quality of life.
Doug Wilson, USDA’s State Director for Rural Development in Illinois, said the key to bringing high speed internet to more rural areas of the state and of the country is to maximize investment dollars through local, state, federal, and private partnerships.
The $13 million is a part of $600 million that Congress set aside for rural broadband development. Northey added the USDA received over $1.4 billion dollars in requests for grant money in this first round of applications.