RUS Awards $1.2 Billion in Stimulus Funds

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announced the funding of 126 new broadband infrastructure projects that will create jobs and provide rural residents in 38 states and Native American tribal areas access to improved service. Today’s announcement is part of the second round of USDA broadband funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

In all, $1.2 billion will be invested in the 126 broadband infrastructure projects. An additional $117 million in private investment will be leveraged, bringing the total funds invested to $1.31 billion.

A complete list of projects receiving ARRA broadband grant awards today can be viewed online. A few of the big winners in this round:

  • Cimmarron Telephone Co. received an award of $42.4 million to provide FTTH and wireless broadband service in Oklahoma.
  • Highland Telephone Cooperative received $66 million to service areas in Tennessee and Kentucky.
  • Montana Opticom LLC received $64 million for a FTTP network.
  • Nemont Telephone Cooperative Inc. received $26 million for a FTTH network in Montana.
  • TDS Telecom and its wholly owned subsidiaries received $85.9 million in federal grants that the company will match with $28.6 million of its own funds. In this second funding round, TDS submitted 46 applications, and received funding approval for 39 broadband expansion projects in 18 states.
  • Windstream received grants totaling more than $66 million for eight projects in seven states.
  • West Kentucky Rural Telephone received $123.8 million for a FTTH network

Also of note, Qwest made a single application for a total of $348 million, which is still pending.

In related news, in a post on the White House blog Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke maintained that they are on track to distribute the remaining $4 billion dollars in ARRA funds by September 30, 2010.

The post provided this calendar:

Agency Expected Approx # of Projects Expected Approx. Dollar Amount Description
Week of August 16
USDA 50 $190 million These awards will support a series of last-mile projects.
Commerce 70 $1.3-$1.6 billion These awards will support public computing, broadband adoption, community infrastructure, and some public safety projects.
Week of Sept. 6
USDA 65 $450 million These awards will support a series of last-mile projects, as well as satellite and technical assistance projects.
Commerce 50 $600-$900 million These awards will support public computing, broadband adoption, community infrastructure, and some public safety projects.
Week of Sept. 27
Commerce 15 $300-$600 million These awards will primarily support public safety projects, but may also include a handful of community infrastructure, public computing, and broadband adoption projects.
Commerce $100-$200 million These awards will support broadband mapping efforts.

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