The federal government last week announced 14 grants totaling $20.3 million to bring broadband service to rural communities in eight states, the first awards disbursed under the Agriculture Department's new Community Connect Grant guidelines. The rules allow applicants to receive funds for projects across more than one community and increase the minimum download speed they must provide to 5 Mbps. The USDA's Rural Utilities Service awarded the grants in eight states: Alaska, Kentucky, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

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