Smart Rural Communities Grants Further Educational, Security and IoT Projects

Randy Sukow


Randy Sukow / May 27, 2020

NTCA –The Rural Broadband Association recently announced the four telcos receiving 2020 grants through its Smart Rural Communities (SRC) program. The four will receive a total of $16,500 to support broadband projects that not only extend connectivity in rural areas but make new services and technologies available to benefit the community.

“There has likely never been a more valuable time to celebrate those NTCA members who have worked hard to create Smart Rural Communities where they live, work and play. This is evident in the work of this year’s SRC grant recipients,” said NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield in a blog post.

NRTC is proud to be an SRC sponsor. It contributes to the grant program and last September, NRTC’s Greg Santoro participated in distribution of NTCA’s annual SRC Awards. The projects that stood out this year:

  • A grant to KanOkla Telephone Association, Caldwell, KS, will go toward establishing gigabit connections at a regional “learning lab.” The facility serves to encourage local entrepreneurs and promote economic development.
  • West Kentucky and Tennessee Telecommunications Cooperative in Mayfield, KY, will use the proceeds of its grant to establish broadband connections to a new $12 million library. The library serves a region where nearly a third of homes have no internet connections and about 20 percent of the population is students who need broadband to keep up their studies.
  • Considerable research and development have gone into internet of things (IoT) technologies for “smart cities.” The Smart Rural Community meets smart city in the grant earmarked for DeKalb Telephone Cooperative, DeKalb, TN. SRC funds combined with local grant programs is helping to establish IoT-based security applications at the county agricultural center. Monitoring and automated control of locks will improve security at the center, which serves as a community-wide meeting point.
  • Local residents as well as an important flow of tourists through Canby, OR, will benefit from 100 Mbps Wi-Fi service in the city’s parks. NTCA-member DirectLink is building that service in partnership with city government.
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