USDA today announced a $7.3 million loan to Colton Telephone Company to complete a fiber-to-the-premises project that will provide enhanced broadband services for rural residents and businesses in its Clackamas County service area.
"Bringing up-to-date, high-speed telecommunications services to rural America is a critical step in helping small-town and home-based businesses compete in a global economy," said USDA Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker. "This project will also improve access to online education and help local residents tap into critical health care and social services systems."
Through the project, Colton Telephone Company will install optical fiber throughout the entire service area. While some construction has already begun, activities associated with the USDA loan will begin in the spring of 2014. The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2016.
Today’s announcement also includes broadband loans through USDA's Telecommunications Loan Program for rural telecommunications providers in Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota. Funding is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of the loan agreements.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today's announcement is one part of the Department's efforts to strengthen the rural economy. Since the start of the Obama Administration, USDA has funded 557 projects in 48 states through $6.1 billion in telecommunications loan financing. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack noted that today's funding announcement is another reminder of the importance of USDA programs for rural America. A comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy - and he said that's just one reason why Congress must get a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill done as soon as possible.