HOLTON, Kan. (KSNW) — The United States Department of Agriculture has announced $6,319,640 in funding for high-speed internet access for rural residents and businesses in eight counties in Kansas and Nebraska.

The funding will be used to create a fiber-optic network that will connect 704 people, 17 businesses, and 225 farms to high-speed internet in Jackson, Nemaha, Pottawatomie, Republic, Washington, and Riley counties in Kansas, as well as Jefferson and Thayer counties in Nebraska. The network will be operated and maintained by J.B.N. Telephone Company, which will also be participating in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity and Lifeline programs which provides those with low incomes who qualify a monthly credit for up to $30 to help cover the cost of service.

“High-speed internet is essential for success in education, healthcare, and business in the twenty-first century,” says USDA Kansas State Director for Rural Development Christy Davis. “Federal funding makes it possible for communications companies, like J. B. N. Telephone, to serve our state’s rural communities.”

The funding for the network comes from the third round of funding from the federal ReConnect Program. The USDA will also soon provide additional funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which is providing $65 billion to expand affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the U.S.