Hoeven: USDA Rural Development Awards $6.9 Million to Reservation Telephone Cooperative to Build Broadband Infrastructure in Western North Dakota

Senator Ensured Strong Funding for ReConnect Program, Supporting Development of State’s Broadband Network

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today joined U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director Clare Carlson, Dakota Carrier Network (DCN) CEO Seth Arndorfer and Reservation Telephone Cooperative CEO Shane Hart in announcing a federal grant of $6.9 million under the ReConnect program to build broadband infrastructure in western North Dakota and eastern Montana. Reservation Telephone Cooperative, a member company of DCN, will use the funding, along with $2.3 million of its own funds, to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network that will connect homes, businesses, farms, a local school and fire station to high-speed internet service.

As chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Hoeven is working to ensure the development of the infrastructure needed to support the state’s growing technology sector. To this end, the senator has secured $1.7 billion for ReConnect across fiscal years 2018-2020. Today’s award comes from the second round of the program’s funding, with first-round grants having been made to Polar Communications and Dakota Central Telecommunications in North Dakota.

“No matter the industry or the household, the internet has become a central part of education, commerce, health care and many other aspects of our daily lives,” Senator Hoeven said. “As the demand on our infrastructure has grown, we have supported both federal and private investments into broadband to ensure that our state’s residents and businesses can access the high-speed service they need regardless of their ZIP code. This is especially important as we’ve built our state into a hub of technology entrepreneurship. Through the ReConnect program and similar efforts, we are working to ensure North Dakota can continue to lead the way toward the economy of tomorrow.”

In addition to the ReConnect program, Hoeven has worked to advance:

  • The Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act, which passed as part of the 2018 Farm Bill, to ensure adequate broadband access in rural areas.
    • DCN CEO Seth Arndorfer was appointed as a member of the task force created under this legislation.
  • The Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, which was signed into law in March, to improve federal broadband mapping.
  • Improvements to the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) High-Cost Program under the Universal Service Fund (USF). The senator also worked with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to ensure the program is fully funded.