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Efforts to expand broadband access benefit southern Illinois

Someone using a computer with a notebook next to them
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High-speed internet is needed for digital learning and telemedicine.

A local utility company will benefit from the federal ReConnect program to expand high-speed internet access in rural areas.

The Egyptian Telephone Cooperative Association will be getting funds under the program, which is in it's third round of awards.

US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said much of the country still can't access broadband.

"Many parts of the country today still have limited internet access in terms of upload and download speeds that simply don't allow for multiple uses in the home, don't accommodate distance learning or telemedicine, and don't allow businesses to expand market opportunities and would not allow farmers the opportunity of precision agriculture," he said.

The USDA said more funding will be announced in coming weeks.

Steph Whiteside is a Digital Media News Specialist with WSIU radio in Carbondale, Ill. She previously worked as a general reporter at AJ+ and Current TV.
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