RUS Awards $192M in Broadband Loans

The USDA Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announced yesterday that it has awarded $192 million in loans for projects that will deliver broadband services to rural customers across eight states.

This financing is part of the $690 million investment USDA will make during FY 2011 in the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program, which funds facilities and equipment to upgrade, expand, maintain and replace rural telecommunications networks. This is in addition to the $3.5 billion in broadband funding RUS awarded for projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Read more

RUS to Discontinue Telecom Program’s List of Materials

–updated May 24, 2011, at 10:50 a.m. with new information —

NTCA spoke with RUS officials May 23, Monday afternoon, and learned that agency will be discontinuing the telecom program’s “approved” list of materials (LoM). RUS said that it does not have the staff resources to continue this project. The official announcement was posted May 24 to the RUS website.

In the past, broadband service providers that received RUS grants or low-interest loans to construct, upgrade or maintain their networks were only allowed to install new products which were on the approved LoM. (The one exception to this rule was applicants to the BIP program.)

RUS Administrator Jonathan Adelstein made the official announcement in an open letter: “Effective immediately, Rural Development will no longer accept applications for equipment to be added to the List of Materials for Telecommunications and Rural Development will cease publication of the List of Materials for Telecommunications.” Read more

RUS Loans $40 Million for FTTP Projects

Yesterday, the USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announced support for telecommunications projects in seven states to improve broadband service to rural residents and businesses.

RUS will loan $40 million for projects in Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota, Montana and Oklahoma. The telephone companies and cooperatives that have been selected to receive the financing will construct more than 1,000 miles of fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) systems. Read more

RUS Loans $247 Million for FTTH Projects

Late last week the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announced nearly $247.9 million in funding for telecommunications projects that will improve broadband service to rural residents and businesses in 11 states. This funding, which is part of the $690 million investment from the USDA’s Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program during fiscal year 2010, will finance over 16,000 miles of fiber to the home (FTTH), bringing high speed Internet service to rural areas. The loans were granted in 12 states and ranged in value from $5.5 million to $38.8 million.

Administered by RUS, this infrastructure financing is in addition to the $3.5 billion in broadband funding RUS awarded for rural broadband projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The telecommunications infrastructure program funds facilities and equipment for upgrades, expansion, maintenance and replacement of rural networks. RUS funded approximately $537 million in FTTH projects during fiscal year 2010. Read more

NTIA and RUS Complete Broadband Stimulus Awards

Last week NTIA and RUS announced a handful of new investments as both agencies scrambled to meet the September 30 deadline to award nearly $7 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding. With these awards the government has now formally announced all the winners in the broadband stimulus program.

NTIA awarded $206.8 million in grants to 14 new investments, including two comprehensive community infrastructure awards ,six public computer center awards and six sustainable broadband adoption awards. This follows closely on the heels of a$115.2 million grant to the Maryland Department of Information Technology.

In total, NTIA has invested in 233 Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) projects, mainly middle-mile ventures. Based on estimates provided by grant recipients, the projects will: Read more

Govt Announces $1 Billion in New Broadband Stimulus Awards

This past Monday was a broadband stimulus bonanza, with the federal government awarding a little more than $1 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) grant funding.

RUS announced that $518 million will be invested in 43 new broadband infrastructure projects that will create jobs and provide rural residents in 27 states and Native American tribal areas access to improved Internet service. An additional $34.1 million in private investment also will be committed to the projects.

The largest grant, $66.4 million, was awarded to Lake County in Minnesota for a fiber-the-premises (FTTP) network. Other RUS Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) grants of note: Read more

New Broadband Stimulus Awards Include Satellite, Public Safety Networks

Yesterday Vice President Biden announced that as part of the second round of broadband funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the government has awarded $1.8 billion to 94 new broadband projects within 37 states.

This announcement includes 66 grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) to deploy broadband and connect community anchor institutions, create and upgrade public computer centers, and encourage the sustainable adoption of broadband service. It also includes 28 awards from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) for broadband infrastructure and satellite projects that will provide rural residents in 16 states and Native American tribal areas access to improved service.

The University of Arkansas received the largest financial award,$102 million, to connect community anchor institutions throughout the state. Other winners include Windstream which received more than $64 million for four new projects; Yadkin Valley Telephone Membership Corp. which received more than $21 million for a FTTH network; and Peoples Telephone Cooperative which was awarded more than $28 million to  provide middle-mile broadband service in eastern Texas, connecting 190 community institutions to broadband.

For the first time the stimulus winners include four satellite operators: Read more

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