The grants can be used to purchase internet service and technological equipment.

Senator Schumer and Gillibrand announced Tuesday major federal investment to expand internet access and to battle the opioid crisis in rural communities in upstate New York.

The Agriculture Appropriations bills that passed the Senate includes $425 million for the USDA Broadband Pilot Program to install internet in rural communities.

An additional $53 million will be provided for telemedicine grants, $20 million of which is dedicated to helping communities address the opioid crisis.

The grants can be used to purchase internet service and technological equipment.

“Internet access has become one of our most basic necessities, yet some rural communities still don’t have access to this essential technology,” said Senator Gillibrand. “People, schools, hospitals, and businesses all rely on high-speed internet to succeed at work and have a good quality of life. Broadband technology can also provide a lifeline to communities battling the opioid crisis. I was proud to fight to make sure that this critical assistance was included in the just-passed spending bill, and I will continue to work in the Senate to make sure that our communities have the tools they need to stay connected.”

The $425 million in additional funding included in the just-passed Agriculture Appropriations bill brings total funding for this program to over $1 billion.