Millions of dollars in upgrades are coming to improve internet connections in the mountains. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue made the announcement Monday afternoon in Madison County.

Perdue announced a $3 million grant that will bring high speed internet to four thousand people, 189 farms, 64 businesses and two fire stations in Madison County.

Perdue said the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted just how essential broadband connectivity is.

“While a lot of people love to come up here and live with this temperature and weather and climate, and, working from home, they’ve got to have connectivity. So, we know, whether it’s telemedicine or distance learning or e-commerce or precision agriculture,” Perdue said.

French Broad Electric Membership Corporation’s Jeff Loven said, with high-speed internet, service should be up and running before the end of the year.

Loven said his goal is to have all of Madison County connected within two years.

The investment is part of the $100 million in grant funding made available for the ReConnect Pilot Program through the CARES Act.

“I am so proud of our rural communities who have been working day in and day out, just like they always do, producing the food and fiber America depends on. We need them more than ever during these trying times, and expanding access to this critical infrastructure will help ensure rural America prospers for years to come,” Perdue said in a news release.





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