Late yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the winners of $97 million in broadband support to rural America through its Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan and Community Connect Grant Programs. Six out of seven on the list of loan winners include NRTC telephone members, who will receive a combined $85 million, much of it to build fiber optic facilities in remote areas.
“A person’s location should not determine whether he or she has access to modern communications infrastructure,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a press release. “That is why USDA is partnering with businesses and communities by investing in state-of-the-art broadband e-connectivity to remote and rural areas. These investments will expand access to educational, social and business opportunities for 22,000 subscribers to help grow their rural communities and America’s economy.”
The NRTC members to receive loans include:
- Chibardun Telephone Cooperative, Cameron, WI ($21,438,000) – To build fiber to the home (FTTH) to approximately 2,700 homes.
- Garden Valley Telephone Co., Erskine, MN ($20,360,000) – For fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) construction to upgrade broadband service to current subscribers.
- RC Technologies, New Effington, SD ($17,000,000) – To extend triple-play (voice, video and data) services to 1,300 subscribers in two South Dakota counties and one North Dakota county.
- Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Co., Green City, MO ($13,659,000) – To convert nearly 500 miles of copper plant serving 1,063 subscribers to FTTP.
- Lincoln County Telephone System, Pioche, NV ($6,944,000) – To convert some copper lines to FTTP and expand an existing fixed wireless broadband network.
- Hopi Telecommunications, Flagstaff, AZ ($5,820,000) – To build FTTP in certain areas. Other areas that remain on copper-based internet networks will get upgrades to 10 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream.