Bay Springs Telephone Co. Will Expand Broadband Fiber Service in Jasper, Jones, Newton, Lauderdale and Smith Counties

BAY SPRINGS, Miss. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today celebrated the award of a $4.69 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ReConnect Program grant for the Bay Springs Telephone Co. to construct 116 miles of broadband fiber in Jasper, Jones, Newton, Lauderdale, and Smith counties.

Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee and Senate Agriculture Committee, joined USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach and local officials to announce the USDA Rural Development funding.

“The ReConnect Program grant funds will help provide high-speed internet e-Connectivity to thousands of Mississippians across five rural counties.  I’m excited that this important USDA Rural Utility Service investment will benefit households, businesses, farms, and our essential public safety, community services, educational, and healthcare facilities,” Hyde-Smith said.

“I look forward to seeing all of the benefits that this ReConnect Program investment brings to this region of Mississippi,” she said.

The Senator also commended the Bay Springs Telephone Company for applying successfully for the grant, which will be matched with $1.56 million in nonfederal funding.  The overall $6.25 million project will allow the company to expand internet service beyond the 5,238 customers currently receiving internet service.

The ReConnect Program, administered by the USDA Rural Development Rural Utility Service, is a broadband pilot program created by Congress to provide USDA Rural Development financing and funding options (loans, grants, and loan/grant combinations) for broadband deployment in rural areas that lack sufficient access to broadband.  The CARES Act provided an additional $100 million for grants under the ReConnect Program.

“Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA has prioritized connecting America’s rural communities to this essential infrastructure,” Ibach said.  “When rural America thrives, all of America thrives, and expanding access to this critical infrastructure will help ensure rural America prospers for years to come.”