Friday, February 19, 2010

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Annouces $277 million in Broadband Stimulus Projects 02-19-2010 San Francisco - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

Tom Vilsack
on Wednesday, February 17, announced the award of 11 Broadband Stimulus projects totaling $277 million in monies from the federal recovery Act.

The awards were announced at the one year anniversary of the signing, by President Barack obama of the Act, officially called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) administers the Department of Agriculture's portion of the total $7.2 billion broadband stimulus program. The $277 million in government funding will be supplemented with $1.6 million in matching funds provided by the 11 separate applicants.

"The broadband projects we're announcing today will create construction jobs now to build high speed Internet networks in unserved and under-served communities. Deployment of broadband will support job creation and rural economic development," Vilsack (above, with President Obama) said in a press release issued by his office at the USDA..

"The Obama Administration and USDA are bringing broadband to rural America so that Americans can compete in a global 21st Century economy. We are opening new opportunities not only for homes and businesses, but for community institutions such as health facilities, libraries, public buildings and community centers," concluded Secretary Vilsack (D-IA), the former Democratic Governor of Iowa.

Funding of individual recipients is contingent upon their meeting the terms of the loan, grant or loan/grant agreement. Below is a complete list of recent Recovery Act Broadband award recipients by state:

Smithville Telephone Company, Inc.
This is a Last Mile Non-Remote project, to be funded by a $37,729,143 loan. The funding will provide 3,815 households, 209 businesses, and 12 community anchor institutions with access to broadband service.

Southeast Iowa Rural Wireless Broadband
RUS states that this $3,836,926 loan will provide funding for "Internet services to 80 rural communities using proven wireless technology."


Mountain Rural Telephone Cooperative Corporation
Mountain RTCC received a loan for $39,843,535 and $38,281,044 in grant monies. The Cooperative will extend optical fiber to Morgan, Menifee, Wolfe, and Elliott counties that will result in 20 Mbps bandwidth to end users.

Mountain RTCC will deploy a fiber cable-based broadband network in the counties of Morgan, Menifee, Wolfe, and Elliott. All four counties are considered "distressed" by the Appalachian Regional Commission, and are challenged by mountainous terrain and limited highway and rail infrastructure. MRTCC stated in its application that it will bring broadband access to these counties to enhance economic and educational opportunities for residents and employers.


Allen's Cable - Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) Broadband Network Extension: $3,584,680 loan and $3,513,697 grant. The funding will extend fiber into rural areas of three South Louisiana Parishes.

LBH, LLC, - Rural Broadband Powered by Fiber: $16,693,439 loan and $16,691,939 grant. The funding will expand existing broadband into rural areas around Moss Bluff, Oakdale, and Vinton.


Southwest Minnesota Broadband Group (SWMBG): $6,350,000 loan and $6,350,250 grant. The funding will provide service to eight rural communities throughout Southwest Minnesota.

SWMBG will extend optical fiber to the Jackson, Lakefield, Windom, Round Lake, Bingham Lake, Brewster, Wilder, Heron Lake, and Okabena communities. This funding, along with an $88,000 private investment, will provide high-speed Internet, voice, and cable television to the participating communities. SWMBG stated in its application that federal funding will allow it to improve the quality of life by increasing the availability of health, education, and public safety services across 9 community area.


Unionville, Missouri FTTP Project: $5,140,458 loan and $5,140,458 grant. The funding will provide broadband services to households, businesses, and key community organizations that are currently underserved in the Unionville area.

New Mexico

Western New Mexico Telephone Company, Broadband Infrastructure Project: $11,516,679 grant. The funding will provide last mile broadband services to remote and unserved locations and critical community facilities throughout Western New Mexico.

Baca Valley Telephone Company, Inc.: $1,651,000 loan and $1,586,000 grant. The funding will expand fiber optics to Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) nodes in rural Northeastern New Mexico, replacing outdated deteriorating copper wire and low bandwidth microwave transport systems in some areas, while providing new connectivity in others, and enabling advanced, high-speed DSL service throughout the area.


Sandy Broadband Infrastructure Project: $374,548 loan and $374,537 grant. The funding will provide broadband service to the underserved rural area of Sandy by improving and expanding wireless Internet service.


Southern Texas Broadband Infrastructure Development and Adoption Project: $40,093,153 loan and $38,520,868 grant. The funding will develop a broadband infrastructure in eleven unserved and underserved rural communities of the South Texas Plains.

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