USDA invests $12.8 million in rural broadband for Illinois families

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) Bill Northey announced USDA has invested $12.8 million in high-speed broadband infrastructure that will create or improve e-Connectivity for more than 1,650 homes in rural Illinois. This is one of many projects announced in the first round of USDA’s ReConnect Pilot Program investments.

“We know that rural communities need robust, modern infrastructure to thrive, and that includes having access to broadband e-Connectivity,” Northey said. “Broadband is no longer an amenity. It is essential for education, health care and public safety. I’m excited about the tremendous benefits broadband will have for farmers here in Illinois. USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in deploying this critical infrastructure, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

Wabash Telephone Cooperative, Inc., Louisville, Ill., will use a $12.8 million 50 percent loan-grant combination to deploy 298 miles of fiber-optic cable in unserved areas of Jefferson and Wayne counties. This investment is anticipated to reach 1,684 households, 31 farms, 29 businesses, nine educational facilities, two critical community facilities and one health care center.

To learn more about the ReConnect program, visit

Pictured left to right are: Bill Northey, USDA under-secretary for farm production and conservation; Barry Adair, CEO, Wabash Communications; and Douglas Wilson, USDA Rural Development state director.