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High speed internet coming to rural communities in western Idaho and eastern Oregon

Close-up of an internet router with blue and yellow cables coming out of ports and lights flashing.
Charles Krupa
FILE - A home router and internet switch are displayed on June 19, 2018, in East Derry, N.H. Telecommunications industry groups on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, ended their bid to block California's net neutrality law that prevents broadband providers from throttling service. In a federal court filing in Sacramento, the groups and California Attorney General Rob Bonta jointly agreed to dismiss the case.

More rural communities in western Idaho and eastern Oregon will soon have access to high speed internet.

The Oregon Telephone Corporation is receiving a total of $30 million in federal dollars to expand high speed internet access across Grant County, Oregon, as well as Canyon Ada counties in Idaho. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced Monday the private company is receiving a grant of $15 million and a $15 million loan.

At a press conference, White House Advisor Mitch Landrieu said high speed internet could help with population decline in rural areas.

“Young people want to be able to live where their children can do their homework at home, not in a McDonald's parking lot,” Landrieu said.

Optical fibers will bring high speed broadband directly to 7300 people, 145 businesses, 4 educational facilities and roughly 500 farms.

“In agricultural communities, high speed Internet can transform farming practices, enabling farmers to use more sustainable, data driven approaches to precision agriculture,” Landrieu added.

Qualifying low-income residents will also be able to receive rebates of up to $30 a month on their internet bill. The installation and program launch is expected to start within a few months.

“High-speed internet is a key to prosperity for people who live and work in rural communities,” Secretary Vilsack said in a press release.

The project is part of $714 million in grants and loans to bring broadband to rural communities farmers and businesses in 19 states across the country.

I joined Boise State Public Radio in 2022 as the Canyon County reporter through Report for America, to report on the growing Latino community in Idaho. I am very invested in listening to people’s different perspectives and I am very grateful to those who are willing to share their stories with me. It’s a privilege and I do not take it for granted.

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