USDA awards $4.69M grant to expand internet service in five Mississippi counties

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BAY SPRINGS, Miss. (WHLT) – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) announced the award of a $4.69 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ReConnect Program grant for the Bay Springs Telephone Co. to construct 116 miles of broadband fiber in Jasper, Jones, Newton, Lauderdale, and Smith counties.

“The ReConnect Program grant funds will help provide high-speed internet e-Connectivity to thousands of Mississippians across five rural counties.  I’m excited that this important USDA Rural Utility Service investment will benefit households, businesses, farms, and our essential public safety, community services, educational, and healthcare facilities,” Hyde-Smith said.

The senator also commended the Bay Springs Telephone Company for applying successfully for the grant, which will be matched with $1.56 million in nonfederal funding.  The overall $6.25 million project will allow the company to expand internet service beyond the 5,238 customers currently receiving internet service.

The ReConnect Program is a broadband pilot program created by Congress to provide USDA Rural Development financing and funding options (loans, grants, and loan/grant combinations) for broadband deployment in rural areas that lack sufficient access to broadband. The CARES Act provided an additional $100 million for grants under the ReConnect Program.

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