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USDA’s Chris Beeker: Broadband program, workshop an opportunity for ‘game-changing investments’

The aim of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) broadband program is to bolster economic development in rural areas.

And, now, Alabama will be one of only five states in the country to host a technical workshop to help stakeholders better understand the fundamental aspects of the program.

Under USDA’s ReConnect Program, this regional workshop will outline the process for obtaining grants, loans and grant/loan combinations available to stakeholders.

Chris Beeker, USDA state director for rural development, sees the workshop as an important part of the path toward increased economic growth in rural areas.

“We want to ensure applicants from Alabama, and the region, have the best shot at being successful when applying for these ReConnect funds,” he told Yellowhammer News. “I am glad we are able to host this event, and given the importance of broadband in rural Alabama, this is a great opportunity for some game-changing investments in our communities.”

The two-day workshop will take place in Auburn on May 8 and 9. The USDA has set up a registration website for those wishing to attend.

The goal of the ReConnect Program is to spur economic development for rural areas by bringing high-speed broadband to rural areas lacking in sufficient access.

The department envisions delivery of broadband connection to result in improvements in precision agriculture, education and health care.

Tim Howe is an owner and editor of Yellowhammer News