SAN LUIS VALLEY, Colo. — Rural and diverse regions across Colorado and other states across the country will now receive high-speed internet.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Department is investing $401 million to provide access to high-speed internet for 31,000 rural residents and businesses in 11 states as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to investing in rural infrastructure and affordable high-speed internet for all.

This announcement includes a group of investments from the ReConnect Program, and an award funded through USDA’s Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee program.

“Connectivity is critical to economic success in rural America,” Vilsack said. “The internet is vital to our growth and continues to act as a catalyst for our prosperity. From the farm to the school, from households to international markets, connectivity drives positive change in our communities. Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA knows rural America is America’s backbone, and prosperity here means prosperity for all.”

As part of the announcement, San Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative (SLVREC) in Monte Vista is receiving a $1,998,448 grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. It will connect 129 people, eight businesses, one public school and 20 farms to high-speed internet in Conejos and Alamosa counties.

“Living in the San Luis Valley, I know the need of reliable internet access and being able to engage in remote work, telehealth, e-commerce, and online schooling. Internet service strengthens community prosperity by providing connections to a vast number of resources and potential markets,” said Armando Valdez, USDA Rural Development Colorado State Director.

SLVREC will make high-speed internet affordable by becoming a provider for the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program and aims to not charge for routers or modems. This grant will serve the socially vulnerable communities of Conejos and Alamosa Counties.

The Department will make additional investments for rural high-speed internet later this summer, including ReConnect Program funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a historic $65 billion investment to expand affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the U.S.

To be eligible for ReConnect Program funding, an applicant must serve an area where high-speed internet service speeds are lower than 100 megabits per second (Mbps) (download) and 20 Mbps (upload). The applicant must also commit to building facilities capable of providing high-speed internet service at speeds of 100 Mbps (download and upload) to every location in its proposed service area.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal, and high-poverty areas.