72°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Comments sought on broadband effort

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is inviting comments on the implementation of the e-Connectivity Broadband Pilot Program through Sept. 10.

The pilot project was established in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 on March 23.

USDA is developing this pilot program to catalyze private investment and bring broadband to unserved rural areas of the country.

The new program provides a unique opportunity to develop modern methods to leverage federal funds to increase private investment in broadband services for as many rural American homes, businesses, farms, schools and health-care facilities as possible, the department said.

According to a 2018 report by the Federal Communications Commission, 80 percent of the 24 million American households that do not have reliable, affordable, high-speed internet are in rural areas.

Without e-Connectivity, rural Americans cannot reach their full productivity in the workplace, receive the best education in schools nor the finest health care in hospitals, the USDA said in a recent news release.

This rural broadband pilot program was proposed by President Donald Trump and was made possible by a $600 million appropriation from Congress in the Consolidated Budget Act of 2018. As a result, USDA is able to create new funding and finance offerings through this pilot program to expand rural broadband in underserved rural and tribal areas.

The framework outlined by Congress allows these new federal funds to be deployed in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.

A wide variety of entities are eligible for funding, including incumbent and competitive rural telephone and broadband service providers, rural electric cooperatives, private firms (but not sole proprietors or partnerships), nonprofits and governmental bodies.

Comments can be submitted to the federal register at bit.ly/2M1ne4T

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.

For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
California Lottery

No one matched all five numbers and the mega number in the Saturday, Oct. 19 drawing of the California Super Lotto. The next jackpot will be at least $21 million.

Truck hauling gravel spills load on Nevada Highway 160

Southbound traffic along Nevada Highway 160 was down to one lane after the driver of a gravel truck spilled some of its load Monday morning.

Injured man uses GPS device to summon for help in Nye County

A man on a hunting excursion used his Spot Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) device to summon for help after he fell and injured himself, the Nye County Sheriff’s Office reports.

Annual Reagan Dinner raises $3K for Nye GOP

President Ronald Reagan was the 40th president of the United States and throughout his political career, which spanned more than two decades, he built a legacy of conservative ideology, carving out for himself a place in the hearts of Republicans.

Latest traffic change unveiled in Pahrump

Yet another major change to traffic patterns in the Pahrump Valley was executed the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 22 when Nye County Public Works crews installed two new stops signs at Calvada Boulevard and Dandelion Street, turning the intersection into a four-way stop.

Wellness fair rolls through Pahrump

A wellness fair rolled through Pahrump this month.

Pahrump rollover crash sends driver to hospital

A driver was transported to Desert View Hospital following a single-vehicle crash in the area of Honeysuckle and Dandelion streets.

Beatty Days, other special events set for Nevada region

Things will really be hopping in Beatty this coming weekend, Oct. 25-27. Not only will it be Beatty Days weekend, but there will be concurrent events at the Red Barn Art Center at Rhyolite and at Spicer Ranch north of town.

Home decor store coming to Pahrump

Two Pahrump women are bringing locals in southern Nye County a place to shop for antiques, restored and refurbished furniture and offering services for customers to make their own creations, along with bringing a line of “farmhouse decor.”