(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) joined a bipartisan letter to the House and Senate appropriations committees calling for additional funding for the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) ReConnect rural broadband grant program in the upcoming FY21 funding bill.
“I have long advocated for increased broadband investment in NY-27. The pandemic has only elevated that need,” Jacobs said. “With schools moved online, businesses increasingly relying on the internet, telemedicine services becoming more popular, and farm technology advancing – the need for reliable high-speed internet access is urgent. The ReConnect Program is a sound investment that has helped connect our underserviced communities.”
Congress created the ReConnect Program in FY18 with a $600 million appropriation. $550 million and $555 million were appropriated in FY19 and FY20, respectively. To date, USDA has invested over $1.3 billion in high-speed broadband infrastructure. Currently, the proposed FY21 Senate budget for this program has been cut by $150 million relative to FY20 funding levels. Jacobs is asking for increased funding for this rural broadband program relative to recent years.
“Our children, families, farmers, and economy rely on access to high-speed internet – we must ensure that we are making sufficient investments that set them up for success,” Jacobs said.