USDA Rural Development State Director Grant Menke announced that the department is investing $5,864,000 in rural broadband service for approximately 1,000 Iowans.
“Expanding e-Connectivity is an essential element of enhancing economic opportunities and improving quality of life in rural America,” said Grant Menke, State Director of USDA Rural Development in Iowa. “We congratulate Sharon Telephone Company on receiving this Telecommunication Infrastructure Loan award, and we look forward to the transformational impact this investment will have on households, businesses and public services in the southeastern Iowa communities of Frytown and Hills.”
“Access to high-speed broadband internet, or e-Connectivity, is a cornerstone of prosperity anywhere, but especially in America’s rural communities,” said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to using all available tools and resources to increase e-Connectivity across rural America because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
USDA is providing loans to telecommunications providers to build, expand and improve broadband services in Iowa. This project is funded through the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program:
This Rural Development investment for Sharon Telephone Company will be used to improve a two-exchange telecommunications system that services southeastern Iowa. Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) facilities will be deployed to serve constituents in Frytown, Hills and the surrounding area. Active ethernet optical line terminals will be installed at each central office to provide direct connections to the new FTTP subscribers. Additional optical multiplexers and transport electronics will be added to provide redundancy for the interoffice routes and to connect to the statewide Aureon network. A total of 189 miles of fiber-optic plant will be constructed.
Since October 2019, USDA has invested $744 million to bring high-speed broadband e-Connectivity to 172,000 households, 19,000 rural small businesses and farms, and more than 500 health care centers, educational facilities and critical community facilities in 34 states.
The Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program is one of several USDA rural broadband programs. On April 20, 2020, USDA announced the department has received 172 applications for $1.57 billion in round two of the ReConnect Pilot Program. The second round will enable USDA to implement innovative new solutions to rural connectivity by leveraging financial options with our partners and continuing the success of the first round of funding. The application window for round two closed on April 15.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
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