State Rep. Beth Griffin today announced Southwest Michigan Communications Inc. will receive $10.7 million in a loan/grant combination to deploy Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband services to Van Buren and Allegan counties. The initiative is part of the USDA’s ReConnect Pilot Program.
USDA Rural Development provides integral resources to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements, business development, housing, community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care, and high-speed internet access in rural areas.
The project will extend broadband availability to 22 farms, 19 businesses, and 7,700 residents spread over 100 square miles.
“As we’ve been forced to stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, internet access has become more vital than ever for the people of Southwest Michigan,” said Griffin, of Mattawan. “Our children are learning from home, many workers and business owners are working from home, and for many patients, the only way to receive the routine and preventative health care they need is via telehealth. This grant will help to connect thousands of people in our most rural communities with internet access.”
To learn more about ReConnect Program eligibility, technical assistance, and recent announcements, visit www.usda.gov/reconnect.
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I recently voted to approve a bipartisan agreement helping K-12 students safely return to school this fall. As a former teacher, it’s important to me that our children receive the education they need and deserve in the coming school year.