USDA to offer new funding promoting high-speed internet in rural W.Va.

Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 10:26 AM EDT
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WVVA) - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development West Virginia director Ryan Thorn announced the availability of $20 million to deliver broadband technical assistance resources for rural communities and support the development and expansion of broadband cooperatives.

According to a release from the USDA, the funding is under the Broadband Technical Assistance Program which supports technical assistance projects. Some of those projects include conducting feasibility studies, completing network designs and developing broadband financial assistance applications. Funding is also available to help organizations access federal resources, and to conduct data collection and reporting.

“At USDA we’re committed to ensuring that rural West Virginia has the tools it needs to succeed and in today’s world that means high-speed internet,” said Thorn. “By working with our rural communities and other organizations to increase access to this service we can create new opportunities for rural West Virginians.

The initiative was made possible by President Bidens Infrastructure Law that provides $65 billion to expand access and lower costs of high-speed internet.

The USDA asks that applicants consider projects that will advance the following priorities:

  • Assisting rural communities recover economically through more and better market opportunities and through improved infrastructure;
  • Ensuring all rural residents have equitable access to USDA Rural Development (RD) programs and benefits from RD funded projects; and
  • Reducing climate pollution and increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change through economic support to rural communities.

Applicants must choose one of the following funding categories:

  • Technical Assistance Providers: Applicants must propose to deliver broadband technical assistance that will benefit rural communities. Up to $7.5 million is available. The minimum award is $50,000. The maximum is $1 million.
  • Technical Assistance Recipients: Applicants must be the recipients of the broadband technical assistance. Up to $7.5 million is available. The minimum award is $50,000. The maximum is $250,000.
  • Projects Supporting Cooperatives: Applicants must propose projects that support the establishment or growth of broadband cooperatives that will benefit rural communities. Up to $5 million is available. The minimum award is $50,000. The maximum is $1 million.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans 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, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit