$74.8 Million in Telecom Loans and $11 Million in Community Connect Grants will Increase Access for Rural Americans in Seven States to include Montana
BOZEMAN, Mont., July 24, 2015 - Rural Development Acting State Director Janelle Gustafson, announced that $29.95 million of $85.8 million in loan funds to strengthen access to high speed broadband for rural America is coming to Montana.
Triangle Telephone Cooperative Association in Havre, MT, will receive the $29.5 million loan and along with more than $36.3 million of Triangle Telephone’s own funds, will convert the lines from copper to fiber in Chouteau, Fergus and Hill counties. The more than $66.25 million in funds represents but a fraction of the investments being made in the continuing effort to bring fiber to every home in Montana. Of the 16 counties served by Triangle Telephone, Blaine, Liberty, Meagher and Phillips counties have all been upgraded to fiber lines.
"These investments by Triangle Telephone provide a real benefit to our agricultural producers on the Hi-Line,” said Gustafson. “Access to global markets and real-time commodity prices allows them to compete with producers anywhere, and put Montana-grown food on the world’s table. USDA Rural Development is proud to be a part of that.”
Below is a summary of the Telecommunication Loans and Community Connect Grants.
Community Connect Grants:
Since 2009, USDA has awarded 74 Community Connect grants totaling more than $77 million to build broadband projects in rural areas that previously did not have broadband service.
The Telecommunications Loan and Community Connect Grant programs are an important part of USDA's broadband efforts. Since 2009, USDA has brought new or improved broadband access to more than 1.5 million households, businesses and community education, and public safety facilities. USDA's broadband efforts are part of President Obama's continued efforts to expand high speed broadband to all Americans. Since the President took office, the private and public sectors have invested more than $260 billion into new broadband infrastructure, and three in four Americans now use broadband at home. Thanks to smart spectrum policies and world-leading technology, fast 4G wireless broadband is now available to over 98 percent of Americans.
President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way - strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.