USDA Rural Utilities Service Administrator Brandon McBride encouraged communities interested in using broadband service to help revitalize small-town main streets and promote economic development apply for Cool & Connected, a pilot program sponsored by USDA Rural Utilities Service and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Sustainable Communities.
Through Cool & Connected, a team of experts will help community members develop strategies and an action plan for using planned or existing broadband service to promote smart, sustainable community development.
Quality broadband access can provide new opportunities for people and businesses. A growing number of communities have combined broadband service with other local assets such as cultural and recreational amenities to attract and retain investment and people, including young people. This can help diversify local economies. Such efforts typically require planning among community leaders, businesses, and internet service providers. The Cool & Connected program will provide assistance to this end, helping communities take advantage of new or existing broadband service to create walkable, connected, economically vibrant main streets and smalltown neighborhoods.