Jasper Schneider, USDA Rural Development state director, today announced $13 million in loans to expand or improve broadband service in rural parts of North Dakota.
“Broadband service is important to our rural communities for the economic and social benefits,” said Schneider. “Having a high-speed connection to the Internet improves access to educational and health care services. It also creates new business and job opportunities.”
The loans are being funded through USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to finance projects that build-out broadband networks. The funding will strengthen rural economies, which are vital to building a more prosperous America.
• Griggs County Telephone Company: $4.7 million loan to deploy fiber-to-the-home in Binford and Cooperstown. Griggs also will upgrade its four exchanges. The project will provide expanded voice, video and data services to 682 subscribers.
• The Red River Rural Telephone Association: $8.5 million loan to construct 145 miles of buried fiber optic cable in Abercrombie, Colfax, Fairmount, Great Bend, Hankinson, Lidgerwood, Mooreton and Wyndmere in North Dakota; and in Barnesville and Rollag in Minnesota. Burying the cable will complete Red River’s fiber-to-the-home network. The upgraded system will meet current and future requirements for voice, video and high-speed data services to subscribers.
Since 2009, USDA has invested more than $382 million in North Dakota telecommunications and broadband projects. In 2010, Dakota Central Communications Cooperative (Daktel) received a $2.2 million USDA broadband grant to bring fiber-to-the-home services to central North Dakota. Thanks in part to the funding, Daktel (along with Dickey Rural Networks) has constructed what is believed to be the largest 100 percent fiber-to-the-home network in the United States. It covers 10,000 square miles and reaches roughly 18,000 homes.
For more information on USDA programs, please call (701) 530-2037 or visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/nd.