Nebraska’s $40 million rural broadband bill signed into law

A newly signed bill is designed to help improve access to high-speed internet for rural communities and ag producers across Nebraska.

Governor Pete Ricketts signed the bill into law Wednesday and said the $40 million legislation connects farmers and ranchers to more opportunities for profitability. “This will be tremendous for folks in rural Nebraska whether it’s work from home, remote education, telehealth, precision ag, ecommerce or entertainment. This is what is going to make living in the Good Life even better.” 

The bill allocates money in the form of grants for unserved and underserved areas that have less than 25 megabits-per-second download and 3 megabits-per-second upload speeds.

Grant recipients must upgrade service to at least 100/100 within 18 months and put up matching funds. Internet speeds for the completed project would be tested and the grant money would have to be repaid if the speeds fall short of the 100/100 goal. 

The bill also would direct broadband expansion funds expected from the American Rescue Act into the grant program. The federal legislation allocated $7 billion nationwide to the effort.

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