Tester Secures $600 Million Investment to Expand High-Speed Internet in Rural America

Senator Was Only Member of Montana's Congressional Delegation to Vote for the Funding

(U.S. Senate)-U.S. Senator Jon Tester today applauded a $600 million investment to expand high-speed internet in rural communities across the country.

Tester helped secure the investment in a budget bill in March, and he was the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation to support the funding for this new initiative.

“Schools, families, and businesses all need reliable access to high-speed internet to thrive,” Tester said. “This funding will specifically help the country’s most rural areas close the communication gap and bring new opportunities to folks across our state.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will administer the new $600 million initiative, known as the “ReConnect Program,” through loans and grants to local telecommunication companies, tribes, and municipalities.

Communities with fewer than 20,000 residents will be eligible for the new funding to expand high-speed internet access. The first round of grants applications will be due to USDA by the end of April 2019.

Montanans can access assistance from USDA during the grant application process by visiting the ReConnect Program’s resource portal at https://reconnect.usda.gov/.

Tester earlier this week led the charge to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill that included development grants to expand access to high-speed internet in rural areas.