High-speed internet is focus of $1.9 million grant
SAN Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative (SLVREC) in Monte Vista is receiving a $1,998,448 grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network as part of an effort by U..S. Department of Agriculture to invest in high-speed internet for rural residents and businesses.
The SLVREC grant will connect 129 people, eight businesses, one public school and 20 farms to high-speed internet in Conejos and Alamosa counties, according to the USDA.
“Living in the San Luis Valley, I know the need of reliable internet access and being able to engage in remote work, telehealth, e-commerce, and online schooling. Internet service strengthens community prosperity by providing connections to a vast number of resources and potential markets,” said Armando Valdez, USDA Rural Development Colorado state director. “This grant will change lives and provide quality enhancements to our telecommunication infrastructure in a strong rural community in southern Colorado. I am grateful that the SLVREC pursued this opportunity. And, I am so happy that residents in Conejos and Alamosa Counties will be able to tap into these resources and thrive both economically and socially.”
SLVREC will make high-speed internet affordable by becoming a provider for the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program and aims to not charge for routers or modems. This grant will serve the socially vulnerable communities of Conejos and Alamosa Counties.
The grant to SLVREC was part of a larger announcement from the U..S. Department of Agriculture on investing $401 million to provide access to high-speed internet for 31,000 rural residents and businesses in 11 states.
“Connectivity is critical to economic success in rural America,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “The internet is vital to our growth and continues to act as a catalyst for our prosperity. From the farm to the school, from households to international markets, connectivity drives positive change in our communities. The investments I am announcing today will help 31,000 people and businesses in large and diverse regions across the country access new and critical opportunities. Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA knows rural America is America’s backbone, and prosperity here means prosperity for all.”