Jasper Schneider, USDA Rural Development state director, today announced that BEK Communications Cooperative will receive two grants for $6 million to bring broadband service to rural areas that currently do not have access.
"Investing in broadband is important to creating sustainable and thriving communities,” said Schneider. “Access to high-speed internet contributes to business growth and provides several social benefits.”
BEK Communications will use the funds for two projects providing fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) technology. The Northern Rural Barnes County service area will be connected to BEK’s existing network and bring high-speed broadband capabilities to customers who otherwise have no broadband or service below three megabits per second (Mbps). In addition, BEK will provide high-speed broadband to a rural and sparsely populated area in the southern portion of Barnes County that has suffered from out-migration. The fiber networks will introduce new capabilities, including voice and video, for educational, healthcare and public safety institutions.
The grant funding is made possible through USDA’s Community Connect Grant program. Since 2009, USDA has invested more than $344 million into North Dakota broadband and telecommunications projects. For more information on USDA Rural Development, please visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/nd.