USDA to spend up to $1.15 billion on rural broadband

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Friday that the USDA would spend up to $1.15 billion to bring high-speed internet services to people living in rural communities. The money would be available in loans and grants to providers who offer service with download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second in areas that lack high-speed internet.

Heartland embraces precision agriculture practices

Half of the farmers in the biggest corn, soybean, and wheat states employ precision agriculture in their operations — from GPS guidance of tractors and combines to deploying drones to scout fields or monitor livestock — twice the national average, said a USDA report on computer usage on Wednesday. Far more farms have a cellular internet connection than broadband; 18 percent have no internet access at all.

USDA awards $167 million for broadband access

Projects in 12 states will receive a combined $167 million in USDA grants and loans to deploy broadband infrastructure in parts of rural America lacking sufficient access to high-speed internet service, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday.

Infrastructure package has $65 billion for broadband

The infrastructure agreement announced by a bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday would expand broadband access to all Americans, according to the White House. An estimated 35 percent of rural families currently lack high-speed internet service.

House committee approves $43 billion rural broadband bill

On a voice vote, the House Agriculture Committee approved a bill on Wednesday to provide $43 billion over eight years to bring broadband service to hundreds of thousands of families and businesses that lack access now. Chairman David Scott said Democratic leaders were "looking to move this in an expeditious way to the Senate."

House chairman proposes $50 billion for rural broadband

The government would spend $50 billion to assure broadband access throughout rural America under a bill sponsored by House Agriculture chairman David Scott, seven times the amount proposed by Republicans on the panel. Scott scheduled a committee vote on his bill for Wednesday. “This bill will …

Biden says no to higher gas taxes to pay for infrastructure

If a bipartisan infrastructure deal holds, Midwesterners can expect upgrades to roads, bridges and broadband networks, President Biden said on Tuesday in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. "There is no gas tax (increase)," he said. "Working families have already paid enough."

Infrastructure framework has $65 billion for universal broadband

President Biden said the $1.2-trillion infrastructure package negotiated with senators on Wednesday will "deliver high-speed internet to every American home" as well as repairing or rebuilding roads and bridges nationwide.

Former Rep. Torres Small is selected to lead rural development at USDA

President Biden chose former Rep Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico to serve as agriculture undersecretary for rural development, overseeing a portfolio of $43 billion in housing, utilities and business and industry programs. Congress overrode a Trump-era reorganization of USDA to re-create the Senate-confirmed post in 2018.

House bill proposes more than $7 billion for rural broadband

Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee on Thursday proposed a three-year program with $7.35 billion in funding to bring broadband access to rural America. The bill would focus on the most remote and least served areas.