April 29, 2011

Vilsack announces broadband investments

Vilsack announces broadband investments
Initiative includes $2.2 million to RTC
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last week in Denver the support for telecommunications projects in seven states including North Dakota to improve broadband service to rural residents and businesses.
The investment includes $2.2 million in funding for RTC to expand and upgrade its broadband. This is a loan and comes on the heels of a major, $21.9 million grant last year that will allow RTC to bring broadband to its coverage area including the Fort Berthold Reservation.
“This will bring world-class service to rural North Dakota,” said Jonathan Adelstein, administrator of USDA Rural Utilities Service. “Broadband service will be every bit as good in rural North Dakota as what you would get in downtown Manhattan and there’s no reason the Fort Berthold Reservation shouldn’t have that service.”
Adelstein said the overall initiative, that includes $40 million in loans to rural telecommunications companies in Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Montana and Oklahoma, as well as North Dakota, is designed for rural telecoms to keep pace with technology.
Adelstein said the loans aren’t just doled out to anyone. Applicants must go through a rigorous application process that proves that each organization’s goal is technologically and financially feasible. Each application is then thoroughly reviewed by a USDA panel. He said one in 10 will receive

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