WASHINGTON (KAMR/KCIT) — U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Department is now accepting application to help rural communities gain access to high-speed internet with a loan or grant.

Up to $1.5 billion in assistance will be issued to rural communities, with the announcement coming after the recently enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which “provides another nearly $2 billion in additional funding for the ReConnect program,” according to the Department.

“High-speed internet is the new electricity,” Vilsack said. “It must be reliable, affordable and available to everyone. The funding USDA is making available – through the current application process and through the nearly $2 billion in additional funding that will be provided for this program by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – will go a long way toward reaching this goal in rural America.”

“These are just two of the latest of many historic infrastructure investments the Biden-Harris Administration is making,” Vilsack continued. “Expanding broadband availability in rural areas will help create jobs, help farmers use precision agriculture technologies, expand access to health care and educational services, and create economic opportunities for millions of rural Americans across the country.”

The Department said that eligible applicants are state, local, or territory governments; corporations; Native American Tribes; limited liability companies and cooperative organizations.

You can apply for a loan or grant starting today, Nov. 24 on the ReConnect website.