BLOOMFIELD — Citizens Mutual Telephone Cooperative of Bloomfield received a $731,500 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture as part of the organization's ReConnect program.

CMTC will use that money to create high-speed broadband internet to 941 people, 40 farms and seven businesses in Wapello County's Green Township, which is in the southern part of the county.

"Citizens Mutual is excited about the opportunity to begin providing quality high-speed internet service to an area that has struggled to receive service in the past," CMTC general manager Joe Snyder said in a statement.

The grant money, combined with an investment from the cooperative, will provide internet speeds of up to 1 gigabyte-per-second, video service and voice service.

The USDA invested $1.8 million in rural parts of Iowa during the second round of the ReConnect program. In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to the USDA to expand broadband infrastructure. A month later, the ReConnect program began.

In the first round of the ReConnect program, the USDA invested $698 million for internet services in 33 states.

"Broadband is a cornerstone to prosperity in Iowa's rural communities because it is essential to economic development, as well as access to health care, education opportunities and connection to people and services," said USDA State Director for Rural Development Grant Menke in a statement.

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