Tester Secures More than $3 Million to Expand High Speed Internet Access in Southwest Montana

$3.3 million to improve connectivity & safety in Beaverhead County; Senator was only member of Montana Congressional delegation to support the funding

Hundreds of Montanans are slated to receive access to high-speed internet, thanks to a grant announced by U.S. Senator Jon Tester today.

The $3.3 million grant will create or improve internet access for 142 homes, businesses, farms, ranches, and the Grant Fire Station in Beaverhead County as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect Program. Tester was the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation to vote for the funding when it was approved in 2018.

“Access to high-speed internet is critical in the 21st century, and even more so in rural America,” Tester said. “This funding will help businesses, schools, and families in Beaverhead County stay connected, improve safety, and bring new opportunities for folks in rural Montana to thrive.”

The funding will be awarded to the Southern Montana Telephone Company, which will use the grant to construct a nearly 100 mile network that connects 109 households, 26 farms and ranches, seven businesses, and the Grant Fire Station. Tester wrote a letter supporting the project last May.

As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, Tester has worked tirelessly to expand access to high-speed and broadband internet in Montana. A working farmer in an area with limited service, he led the charge to force broadband providers to fix inaccurate coverage maps and help individuals and other entities challenge coverage maps in non-burdensome ways, and he has fought to make sure the Federal Communications Commission doesn’t leave rural America behind in the shift to 5G.