USDA Announces $91M in Rural Broadband Funding
Wednesday, November 21, 2018 | Comments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded $91 million in telecommunications programs in 12 states and 19 projects to boost rural broadband. At least two of the awards have public-safety communications aspects.

“In the modern economy, rural broadband is a lifeline to quality of life and economic opportunity,” said Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett. “With that impact, USDA is fiercely committed under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Perdue on expanding access to e-Connectivity in rural America.”

Projects in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia will receive the money.

The Choctaw Nation is receiving a $2.9 million grant to construct a hybrid fiber and fixed wireless system on unserved portions of Le Flore County, Oklahoma. This project will increase access to economic development, health care, educational and public-safety opportunities for 300 households and 15 businesses. It will include a community center in the Hodgen School where the public can access computer terminals and free Wi-Fi service.

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, headquartered in Bryan County, is a sovereign tribal government covering approximately 10,613 square miles in southeastern Oklahoma. The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma will contribute $450,000 to help complete this project.

Ben Lomand Communications received a $1.8 million grant to construct fiber to the premises facilities to enable high-speed broadband in a service area remotely located at the northernmost adjoining borders of Franklin and Marion counties in Tennessee. The grant will connect 265 households to broadband to benefit public-safety and other opportunities. A community center will offer free Wi-Fi and computer terminals for at least two years.

The full list of projects is here.

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