Telephone utilities in 18 states will receive nearly $500 million in U.S. Agriculture Department funds to build, expand and improve broadband in rural areas.
The Ag Department made the announcement Monday during the annual meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners in St. Louis.
In a statement, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the money to 28 telephone utilities will provide high-speed Internet that will improve health care and educational opportunities to rural areas, along with greater job opportunities.
States receiving the funding are predominantly in the South, West and Midwest. Illinois was included on the list, though not any telephone utilities which serve the St. Louis region. Missouri was not included on the list.