Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced $478.6 million in funding for 28 telephone utilities to build, expand and improve broadband in their rural service territories across 18 states.
"Funding will provide residents of these rural communities with high speed internet connections to improve healthcare and educational opportunities and connect to global markets," Vilsack said. "In addition to providing much needed services to rural businesses and residents, these investments will increase jobs, not just in the near term, but through expanded opportunities in rural areas."
In Minnesota, for example, $19,749,000 in Rural Development Broadband Loan Program funds will be used to extend Paul Bunyan Rural Telephone Cooperative's existing Fiber-To-The-Home network to serve rural communities in north central Minnesota. This project will offer advanced telecommunications services to more than 45,700 households and businesses. Paul Bunyan has been operating since 1952 and has been a telecommunications borrower with the Rural Utilities Service since 1953.
In North Dakota, Rural Development funds will be used to expand Polar Communications Mutual Aid Corporation's Fiber-to-the-Premises broadband system throughout eighteen exchanges. The upgraded system will help meet current and future requirements for delivery of voice, video and high speed data to subscribers. Upon completion of this RUS-funded project, all of Polar's subscribers will be served with broadband via various technologies.Source: USDA