The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which announced on July 28 that $401 million would be distributed to telecommunications companies in 11 states, including Texas. Two USDA programs, ReConnect and Telecommunications Infrastructure Loans and Loan Guarantees, will provide the funds.
Funding in Texas will go to the Central Texas Telephone Cooperative in Goldthwaite, Texas, and the Five Area Telephone Cooperative in Muleshoe, Texas. The CTTC will receive a $9.8 million loan and a grant of equal value, while the FATC will receive a grant of $16.6 million, according to the USDA’s plan.
Over 2,000 Texans will be impacted by the initiative, the USDA reported. This includes 647 people, 19 businesses and 151 farms in Central Texas as well as 1,402 people, 50 businesses, 712 farms and four public schools in the West Plains region.
Both telecommunications companies are participating in the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity and Lifeline Programs, which give residents access to discounts on internet services. Eligible households can receive a discount of up to $30 on their monthly broadband bill through Affordable Connectivity and a $9.25 discount on monthly phone, internet or bundled services through Lifeline, according to the FCC.
Residents in Lampasas, San Saba, Parmer, Bailey, Cochran and Lamb counties will be given increased access to high-speed internet through the initiative, according to the USDA.
The other states supported by the initiative are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada and North Dakota.