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More ARRA Funding Comes to the GMR Region

More ARRA Broadband funding has come to our region!  ARRA is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This funding will help to transform health care by enabling better outcomes and lowering costs.  Many rural clinics and small physician offices have to pay for Internet service that is out-dated and over-priced.  The National Broadband Plan recommends changes to broadband services to ensure access to reasonable and affordable Internet access for all.  Read more about the National Broadband Plan and how it will affect health care from the National Broadband Plan site.

The award recipients:

Iowa Communications Network  (IA)

This $16.2 million grant with an additional $7.6 million applicant-provided match will upgrade an existing 3,000-mile network to provide 10 Gbpscapable points of presence in each county in the state, while upgrading direct high-speed connections for thousands of community institutions.  Iowa Communications Network’s project stands to benefit over 4,500 community institutions. Of the 99 counties in the state, 17 are economically distressed and will be served by this project. Iowa Communications estimates that the project will directly create approximately 100 jobs upfront and help drive economic development in the community that creates jobs for years to come.

Iowa Health System (IA)

This $17.7 million grant with an additional $9.9 million applicant-provided match will upgrade and enhance the health system’s existing fiber network that provides connections to over 200 healthcare facilities, as well as facilitate more access to broadband service for residents and businesses statewide. Iowa Health System’s project stands to benefit approximately 1.7 million people. Additionally, 135,000 businesses and 1,800 other community institutions stand to benefit from the project. Iowa Health System estimates that the project will directly create approximately 100 jobs upfront and help drive economic development in the community that creates jobs for years to come.

Farmers’ Telephone Company of Riceville, Iowa (IA)

This $18.7 million grant/loan award with an additional $4.7 million applicant-provided match will construct a FTTP network. The project will allow greater than 20Mbps broadband access to the exchange areas of: Little Cedar, New Haven, Plymouth, Riceville, Marble Rock, Greene, St. Ansgar and Stacyville, Iowa. The Farmer’s Telephone Company of Riceville, Iowa project stands to benefit approximately 8,500 people. Additionally, 148 businesses and 22 other community institutions stand to benefit from the project. Farmer’s Telephone estimates that the project will directly create approximately 250 jobs upfront and help drive economic development in the community that creates jobs for years to come.

Grand River Mutual Telephone Corporation (IA)

This $9.3 million grant/loan project will provide broadband service to the towns of Lorimor, Murray, and Thater, Iowa, and their surrounding rural areas via a FTTH network. Grand River Mutual Telephone Corporation’s project stands to benefit approximately 2,800 people. Additionally, 498 businesses and 10 other community institutions stand to benefit from the project. Not only will this project create jobs upfront, but it will also help drive economic development in the community that will help create jobs for years to come.

Ellsworth Cooperative Telephone Association (IA)

This $5.3 million grant/loan project will provide high speed Internet service in the communities of Ellsworth and Garden City, Iowa, and their surrounding rural areas via a FTTH network. Ellsworth Cooperative Telephone Association’s project stands to benefit approximately 1,300 people. Additionally, 305 businesses and 8 other community institutions stand to benefit from the project. Not only will this project create jobs upfront, but it will also help drive economic development in the community that will help create jobs for years to come.

Breda Telephone Corp. (IA)

This $2.6 million grant/loan project coupled with $2.6 million in outside capital will upgrade two of seven rural exchanges in west central Iowa with FTTP broadband. The proposed project would allow high speed Internet and video services to reach all of the customers in the Breda and Lidderdale exchanges, in addition to their present landline phone services. Breda Telephone Corp.’s project stands to benefit approximately 1,600 people. Additionally, 77 businesses and 3 other community institutions stand to benefit from the project. Not only will this project create jobs upfront, but it will also help drive economic development in the community that will help create jobs for years to come.

Grand River Mutual Telephone Corporation (IA/MO)

This $20.3 million grant/loan project will provide broadband service to the towns of Corydon, Millerton, Allerton, and Lineville, Iowa; and Powersville, Missouri and their surrounding rural areas. Grand River Mutual Telephone Corporation’s project stands to benefit approximately 5,200 people. Additionally, 339 businesses and 36 other community institutions stand to benefit from the project. Not only will this project create jobs upfront, but it will also help drive economic development in the community that will help create jobs for years to come.

Shawnee Telephone Company (IL)

This $7.4 million grant/loan project coupled with $1 million in outside capital will assist citizens in underserved, low-income areas to become highly productive community members by empowering them with broadband technology, as the FTTH network is capable of 1 Gbps transmission speed. Shawnee Telephone Company’s project stands to benefit approximately 3,100 people. Additionally, 438 businesses and 35 other community institutions stand to benefit. The lowest per-household income with the highest unemployment in Illinois, Shawnee believes its proposal to develop a broadband network will create new jobs and economic growth, and stimulate innovation and investment. Shawnee Telephone estimates that the project will directly create approximately 100 jobs upfront and help drive economic development in the community that creates jobs for years to come.

Thacker-Grisby Telephone Company, Incorporated (KY)

This $7.4 million grant/loan project will deploy a fiber-optic network in portions of Breathitt County, Kentucky. Over 3,000 people stand to benefit from this grant to Thacker- Grigsby Telephone Company. In addition, approximately 60 businesses and 34 community institutions stand to benefit from the project, which intends to enhance economic development through affordable broadband. Not only will this project create jobs upfront, but it will help drive economic development in the community that will create jobs for years to come.

Zayo Bandwidth (MN)

This $13.4 million grant with an additional $5.7 million applicant-provided match will fund almost 300 miles of new fiber network. Zayo Bandwidth estimates that this project will create over 100 jobs upfront and help drive economic development in the community that creates jobs for years to come. Over 360,000 people stand to benefit from this grant, along with over 11,000 businesses and nearly 700 community institutions.

Federated Telephone Cooperative (MN)

This $1.3 million grant/loan project consists of building a FTTP system to deploy voice, video, and data services to rural Appleton, Minnesota. The service area is primarily located in Swift County, with small portions in Big Stone and Chippewa Counties. Nearly 400 people stand to benefit from the Federated Telephone Cooperative grant, along with 7 businesses and 1 community institution. Not only will this project create jobs upfront, but it will help drive economic development in the community that will create jobs for years to come.

Leech Lake Reservation Business Committee (MN)

This $1.7 million grant with an additional $790,000 applicant-provided match will create seven new public computer centers and upgrading ten existing facilities on three Indian reservations in Minnesota. The centers will be located at Boys and Girls Clubs within tribally operated community centers, providing public access to all residents. Not only will this project create jobs upfront, but it will help drive economic development in the community that will create jobs for years to come.

Consolidated Enterprises, Inc. (ND)

Over 3,500 people and 200 businesses stand to benefit from Consolidated Enterprises Broadband Infrastructure provision in Dickinson and Belfield North Dakota. In addition to the jobs this project creates upfront from the $11.6 million USDA award, the project will also help drive economic development in North Dakota that will create jobs for years to come.

SRT Communications, Inc. (ND)

This $4.4 million grant/loan project combined with $2.2 million in outside capital will provide FTTP broadband services to the rural North Dakota exchange of Metigoshe. SRT Communications estimates that more than 1,000 people stand to benefit from this FTTP broadband project as well as 2 businesses and 118 other community institutions such as schools and hospitals. Not only will this project create jobs upfront, but it will help drive economic development in the community that will create jobs for years to come.

ComNet, Inc. (OH)

This $30 million grant with an additional $12.9 million applicant-provided match will construct almost 700 new miles of high-capacity fiber to expand an existing network throughout 28 western Ohio counties. ComNet estimates it will create over 300 jobs through this project. Nearly 2 million people as well as 165,000 businesses and approximately 3,000 other community institutions stand to benefit from this project. This project will help an area that has been impacted by the automotive restructuring and by high unemployment rates.

TrioTel Communications, Inc. (SD)

This $12.3 million grant/loan project will provide high speed Internet service in the communities of Canova, Alexandria, Emery, Farmer, Salem, and Spencer, South Dakota, and their surrounding rural areas via a FTTH network. TrioTel Communications estimates that over 4,000 people as well as nearly 1,000 businesses and over 100 community institutions stand to benefit from this project. Not only will this project create jobs upfront, but it will help drive economic development in the community that will create jobs for years to come.

Venture Communications Cooperative (SD)

This $5.2 million grant/loan combined with $1.7 million in outside capital will provide FTTP broadband services to households, businesses, and key community organizations in Cresbard, Faulkton, and Orient, exchanges in South Dakota that are currently underserved. Venture Communications Cooperative estimates that over 2,000 people and dozens of businesses and community institutions stand to benefit from this project. Not only will this project create jobs upfront, but it will help drive economic development in the community that will create jobs for years to come.

Marquette-Adams Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (WI)

This $20 million grant/loan project will extend fiber optic service from the cooperative’s existing service area to surrounding unserved rural areas in central Wisconsin.
Over 11,000 people stand to benefit from this grant, along with 144 businesses and 12 community institutions. Not only will this project create jobs upfront, but it will help drive economic development in the community that will create jobs for years to come.

Reedsburg Utility Commission, Inc. (WI)

This $5.2 million grant combined with $2.3 million in outside capital will extend an existing municipal FTTP network to the surrounding rural areas to provide affordable advanced broadband service to residents and businesses currently confined to traditional dial-up, unreliable wireless, and costly satellite services. Over 6,000 people stand to benefit from this grant, along with 144 businesses and 12 community institutions. Not only will this project create jobs upfront, but it will help drive economic development in the community that will create jobs for years to come.

BroadbandUSA describes the funding this way:

The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act appropriated $7.2 billion for the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) to expand broadband access and adoption in communities across the U.S., which will increase jobs, spur investments in technology and infrastructure, and provide long-term economic benefits.

There are still pockets of low Internet connectivity in the United States.  While doing research on broadband connectivity in the GMR region recently, some interesting statistics came to light.  According to a Census Current Population Survey, 63.5% of U.S. households used a high-speed Internet (broadband) service in October 2009.  This was also noted as a 25% increase from October 2007.  (Source: U.S. Department of Commerce: National Telecommunications and Information Administration)

Some of the main reasons for non-use of high-speed Internet at home in 2009 with rural and urban households compared:

Main Reasons for No High-Speed Internet Use at home, Rural/Urban 2009

Rural and Urban High-Speed Internet Compared, 2009

This funding will not only allow households to have better broadband connectivity, it will enable businesses like health care providers better broadband connectivity as well.

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