ORANGEBURG, S.C. — An announcement in Orangeburg is bringing a little bit more connection to the county.

Sonny Perdue, United States Secretary of Agriculture paid a visit to the Orangeburg county administrative building to announce a $9.75 million grant to extend the county's broadband program. 

The goal is to increase areas for WiFi, hot spots that will help farmers and folks in rural areas to get online easier. It's expected to connect 3,911 households, healthcare facilities, 13 educational facilities, and serve about 10,000 people. It will deliver speeds of 100 megabits per second.

"Today a kid going to school relies on the internet for information" says Perdue, "We know that there are kids, not exaggerating, that are driving from rural areas into towns to have hot spot connectivity and WiFi and now they can do it at home and parents can facilitate their education. You can do precision agriculture, economic development and just so many things that means an increase quality of life."

According to the county, extending the broadband program is an essential for growth for the area moving forward into the future.

"We’ve been having round table discussions about broadband in the rural community because today society is broadband based" says, Harold Young, Orangeburg County Administrator, "Education, health, public safety government response all those things are driven by broadband and so if you don’t have broadband you’re left behind."

Daryl Cate, a resident and chairman for Orangeburg Chamber of Commerce says, "As a person that lives in this community it means so much more. It means I can go anywhere and have service on my phone. It’s a safety issue if you’re traveling up one of the interstates 26 or I-95 it just means you have connectivity no matter where you’re at."

County officials says residents should start to see an increase in connectivity as early as next summer.