The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) has awarded $74.8 million in Telecommunications Loans and $11 million in Community Connect Grants to improve rural Americans’ access to broadband services in seven states. Telecommunications Loans were made to the following five companies:
- In Minnesota, Garden Valley Telephone received a $12.63 million loan to upgrade fiber and electronics, and Consolidated Telephone received a $12.27 million loan to upgrade network infrastructure, including a new fiber ring.
- South Carolina’s FTC Communications received a $12.38 million loan to upgrade its wireless network to 4G/LTE.
- In Montana, Triangle Telephone Cooperative Association received a $29.95 million loan to make fiber upgrades.
- In Wisconsin, LaValle Telephone Cooperative received a $7.61 million loan to deploy fiber and replace a network switch.
Community Connect Grants were awarded to the following four companies:
- Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative, Inc. in Alaska was awarded a $1.4 million grant to provide high-speed broadband service and prepare its network for connection to an undersea fiber cable within the next two years.
- Minnesota’s Northeast Service Cooperative (NESC) was awarded two separate $3 million grants for two projects to provide broadband service to subscribers on the Fond du Lac Reservation. NESC will partner with the Fond du Lac Band of Superior Chippewa.
- Oklahoma’s @Link Services was awarded a grant of nearly $1.5 million to provide high-speed broadband service in parts of Seminole County.
- Virginia’s Scott County Telephone Cooperative was awarded a $2.1 million grant to build a broadband network with one gigabyte of bandwidth for 540 locations in Dickenson County.