Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced last Thursday that the agency is awarding a $2.9 million grant to fund e-Connectivity investments in rural Marion County, Ala.

The grant, which the department awarded to Tombigbee Electric Cooperative, will be used to deploy Fiber-to-the-Premises network services in the community of Brilliant and other Marion County communities.

“To compete in today’s global marketplace, we must remove the infrastructure gaps in rural communities,” Perdue said. “This grant is in keeping with President Trump’s directive that we use all available tools to increase prosperity in rural America. As we pursue economic expansion, we recognize that broadband e-Connectivity is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity.”

At the end of the project, nearly 500 houses will have access to high-speed broadband and local businesses and community service agencies also will be connected, USDA said. Additionally, Tombigbee Electric Cooperative will use part of the grant to establish a community center in Marion County that will offer free internet access to residents.

This grant is just the latest step by the Federal government to close connectivity gaps and bring rural American communications technologies into the 21st Century. In March, the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet took a deep dive look at the future of rural broadband in the United States–discussing both the potential of high-speed broadband and 5G technologies.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs