IDG News Service - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service has announced $1.2 billion in grants and loans for 126 broadband deployment projects in 38 states and tribal areas.
The new awards, announced Wednesday, include grants for WiMax,fiber and DSL deployments. The RUS has distributed more than $2.6 billion in broadband grants and loans through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), a huge economic stimulus package passed by the Congress in early 2009.
The grants and loans will enable telemedicine and distance learning and allow farmers and ranchers to get up-to-the-minute information on weather and commodity prices, said Tom Vilsack, U.S. secretary of agriculture. About 5% of all U.S. schools will benefit from broadband projects funded by his agency, he said.
"This investment will allow the United States ... to become more competitive in the global economy," Vilsack said during a press conference.
Windstream, a broadband provider based in Little Rock, Arkansas, was among the companies receiving awards. Windstream received about $66.4 million, mostly grants, for high-speed DSL, fixed wireless and other broadband projects in seven states, including Georgia, Texas and Missouri. Windstream will match the grants with $21.7 million in private funding.
The largest Windstream project is in Florida, where the company will get a $38.3 million grant from RUS, with an additional $12.7 million in private investment, to bring fixed wireless service to areas of the state. The project will bring service to about 120,000 people and 4,750 businesses, the USDA said.
The West Kentucky Rural Telephone Cooperative will receive $123.8 million, half of it a grant and half a loan, to build a fiber network in parts of western Kentucky and Tennessee.
Another recipient is Montana Opticom, which received $64.1 million, with half being a grant and half a loan, to build a fiber-to-the-premises network in rural communities in Gallatin County, Montana. The company estimates that the project will immediately support 650 jobs, the USDA said.
The new grants and loans also support several WiMax projects. Utopian Wireless, based in Bethesda, Maryland, received about $7.9 million for 10 WiMax projects in seven states, including Alabama, Ohio and Illinois.
Crystal Automation Systems received a $26.5 million award, with $7.9 million of it in loans, to build a hybrid fiber and WiMax network in rural Michigan. The project is expected to bring broadband to more than 140,000 people and 5,000 business, the USDA said.
The RUS and the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration received $7.2 billion for broadband projects in the ARRA. The two agencies have until the end of September to distribute the funds.
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantusG. Grant's e-mail address is email@example.com.
This pilot fish is a contractor at a military base, working on some very cool fire-control systems for tanks. But when he spots something obviously wrong during a live-fire test, he can't get the firing-range commander's attention.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Reduce federal infrastructure risk with compliance management and situational awareness
- IBM continuous monitoring and management solutions deliver real-time situational awareness to help federal agencies understand vulnerabilities, and protect the infrastructure.
- Comprehensive Advanced Threat Defense
- The hot topic in the information security industry these days is "Advanced Threat Defense" (ATD). This paper describes a comprehensive, network-based approach to...
- Advanced Threat Defense: A Comprehensive Approach
- In this interview, Peter George, president, General Dynamics Fidelis Cybersecurity Solutions, explains why we need more than anti-malware, and what constitutes a comprehensive...
- Market Overview: Digital Customer Experience Delivery Platforms
- Forrester states that businesses today struggle to understand and use the tools necessary to create and manage unified, multichannel digital customer experiences across...
- The Growing Demand for Rich Media
- This white paper discusses how IBM Customer Experience Suite Rich Media Edition can automate rich media workflows, from collaborating with creative agencies and... All Government IT White Papers
- On-demand webinar - 7 Keys to Service Catalog Implementation Success Watch this webinar to learn 7 crucial keys to make your service catalog a success!
- Transform Your IT Service Management Watch this webinar, to learn how EasyVista can increase IT productivity & efficiency and deliver streamlined & integrated IT Service & Asset Mgmt.
- IBM FlashSystem V840: Leveraging Software-Defined Flash to Drive Your Business With end-to-end, tightly integrated functionality and super-fast flash technology, products like IBM FlashSystem V840 Enterprise Performance Solution empower businesses to leverage the efficiency...
- Leveraging Flash Storage to Accelerate Oracle Real Application Clusters Join this webinar to understand the latest solid-state storage trends, the specific applications driving solid-state storage deployments and the benefits of deploying the...
- Top 4 Digital Signage Fails Join RMG Networks for a look at four of the most common reasons digital signage fails in corporate businesses. Learn about strategies to...
- All Government IT Webcasts