July 13, 2024 8:19 am
Search
Close this search box.

National News

Funding for 33 Rural Broadband Projects Unveiled by USDA

Credit: iStock

by Jennifer Shutt, Georgia Recorder

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Monday announced it will send $714 million to help rural areas in Georgia and 18 other states connect to the internet.

“The president honestly believes that in order to have the fullest opportunity available to bring manufacturing back, to bring precision agriculture, to reconnect young people to economic opportunity in rural places, the expansion of broadband access is essential,”

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on a call with reporters.

“And the announcement today is an additional step being taken by this administration to make that a reality in all parts of the country, regardless of how remote and rural they may be,” added Vilsack, a former governor of Iowa.

Congress approved the funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect Program in the bipartisan infrastructure law that members of both political parties approved last year.

The Agriculture Department’s funding is a fraction of the $65 billion that U.S. lawmakers authorized for programs that aim to connect all Americans to the internet.

The additional funding is being distributed by the Federal Communications Commission and the Commerce Department, each of which have rural broadband and internet connectivity programs of their own.

This tranche of funding from the USDA, Vilsack said, would go towards 33 different projects. That includes a $9.5 million grant for Pembroke Telephone Company Inc., based in Bryan County about 35 miles west of Savannah.

This story was written by Jennifer Shutt, a Senior Reporter at States Newsroom and contributor to the Georgia Recorder, where this story first appeared.

Georgia Recorder is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Georgia Recorder maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor John McCosh for questions: info@georgiarecorder.com. Follow Georgia Recorder on Facebook and Twitter.

Georgia Supreme Court justices appear skeptical of Athens DA’s claim of open records exemption

In an upcoming ruling, Georgia’s Supreme Court will weigh in on a claim brought by Athens-Clarke District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez, arguing that top prosecutors are exempt from the state’s open records laws. The case involves assertions that the trial court overlooked a constitutional provision in denying Gonzalez’s motion to dismiss an open records complaint, mirroring similar immunity arguments made by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in a separate case related to the 2020 presidential election interference.

Georgia public colleges to expand admissions testing requirements for fall 2026

Georgia colleges are reverting to requiring standardized test scores for all new applicants, signaling a shift from pandemic-era policies. Beginning in fall 2026, institutions including Augusta University, The University of Georgia, and Georgia Tech will mandate SAT or ACT scores, a decision unanimously approved by the Georgia Board of Regents.

Water-hogging data centers flagged in latest ‘Dirty Dozen’ environmental watchdog report

In its annual report released on Thursday, the Georgia Water Coalition spotlighted the detrimental effects of record economic growth on the state’s waterways, particularly in the coastal region, where a surge in state-of-the-art data centers poses a significant threat to Georgia’s rivers. The report urges urgent action from public officials and residents to advocate for policies that safeguard natural resources crucial for clean drinking water and outdoor recreation, emphasizing the need for coordinated water planning to address mounting environmental pressures.