Monday, August 22, 2011

USDA to Release Broadband Loan Awards in 16 States 08/22/2011 San Francisco - Administrator Johnathan S. Adelstein, head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS), will this morning announce the award of new RUS funding for rural networks in 16 states.
Johnathan Adelstein at an event in Iowa in July.

Today's announcement marks the first time since the award of its final broadband stimulus grants and loans last September, that RUS will issue broadband loans outside of its more traditional and longer lived Telecommunications Loan Program.

According to USDA, the 16 states which host the telecom carriers and other service providers receiving the loan packages to be announced this morning are: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

In large measure, the announcements mark at least a partial victory for Adelstein, his staff in the Rural Development section of USDA, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. As first reported by this publication, USDA has been fighting a pitched battle against Republican efforts on Capitol Hill to eviscerate the initial $1.445 billion "program level" funding target of the Obama Administration for the Broadband and Telecom Loan Programs, together with smaller grant programs, for this fiscal years.

Under lobbying pressure from the National Cable Television Association, the powerful trade group representing the nation's largest cable multiple system operators (MSOs), GOP House appropriators eventually left intact the $690 million program level funding for the Telecom Loan Program, yet were successful in reducing the Broadband Loan Program by more than half of the Administration's goal of $700 million.

Comm Connect Infrastructure Awards August 2011

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