USDA toolkit aims to help rural areas get broadband

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WASHINGTON (CBS19 NEWS) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has launched a resource guide to help support the deployment of high-speed e-Connectivity in rural communities.

"High-speed broadband e-Connectivity is becoming more and more essential to doing business, delivering health care, and for school children, doing homework in rural communities," said Anne Hazlett, the assistant to the Secretary of Rural Development. "This user-friendly tool will help rural customers find the many resources USDA has available to support the expansion and use of e-Connectivity in rural America."

The e-Connectivity toolkit features 227 USDA programs to support broadband deployment, allowing customers to identify their type of project.

It also helps people find resources the federal government offers for planning, equipment, construction, research and other related projects.

These resources include grants, loans and technical assistance from multiple offices within the USDA, such as Rural Development, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Forest Service.

The toolkit specifically highlights examples of how such resources can increase access to broadband services in rural areas.

It is free and available to the public online by clicking here. The toolkit can be printed off to use offline.