June 24, 2024

Wyden, Merkley Announce $25 Million Expansion to Broadband Technical Assistance Program

Funding from USDA Rural Development Provides Assistance to Rural Communities in Oregon and Across the Nation

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that the federal government is making available $25 million through the broadband technical assistance program to help local organizations, cooperatives and Tribes expand affordable, high-speed internet projects in rural communities throughout Oregon and nationwide. 

“Like water, rural communities in Oregon and across the country need reliable internet access to be able to survive and thrive,” Wyden said. “This expansion of rural broadband development is exactly what I fought for in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and I am committed to making sure every Oregonian has reliable, affordable broadband access.”

“It is critical for individuals, families, and businesses in every corner of Oregon to have access to affordable, reliable, high-speed internet,” Merkley said. "These investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will boost the broadband access needed to better support stronger, more connected rural Oregon communities.” 

The funding was made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  USDA Rural Development began accepting applications on June 21 and will accept them through August 20th. The broadband technical assistance program encourages applications that address the following priorities:

  1. Assisting rural communities to recover economically through more and better market opportunities and through improved infrastructure;
  2. Ensuring all rural residents have equitable access to USDA Rural Development programs and benefits from USDA Rural Development-funded projects; and
  3. Reducing climate pollution and increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change through economic support to rural communities. 

“USDA Rural Development is committed to making sure that all rural Oregonians have access to high-speed internet,” said Margi Hoffmann, State Director for USDA Rural Development. “Thanks to Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda, this funding will help create access to healthcare, education and precision agriculture, all of which are essential for rural Oregonians.”

Local organizations, cooperatives and Tribes interested in applying should submit their applications through Grants.gov.

Wyden successfully fought to correct inaccuracies in the National Broadband Map in June 2023 which gave nearly $700 million to rural areas in Oregon to develop new broadband infrastructure. The original map incorrectly listed thousands of homes and businesses as being served by broadband, based on false information provided by internet service providers.