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USDA ANNOUNCES $95.2 MILLION IN LOANS TO INCREASE RURAL ACCESS TO HI-SPEED INTERNET TECHNOLOGY - Loans will Expand Access to Broadband Technology for over 31,000 Rural Homes and Businesses in Six States
FRESNO, Calif., Oct. 6, 2004- Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced the approval of $95.2 million in Rural Development broadband loans. The $95.2 million investment is expected to expand access to high-speed Internet technology for over 31,000 additional homes and businesses in several rural communities in the states of California, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, South Dakota and Texas.
"These investments are bringing new economic opportunity and a better quality of life to rural communities," said Veneman. "These loans are part of President Bush's efforts to expand universal access to broadband technologies to every home in America by the year 2007."
In California, Veneman said Sierra Telephone Company, Inc. of Oakhurst, Calif., has been approved to receive a $38.3 million loan to install new technology to improve access for nearly 6,000 homes and businesses to broadband technologies. Calaveras Telephone Company of Copperopolis, Calif., has been approved to receive a $7.7 million loan to upgrade existing network services. The upgrades will benefit residents and businesses in the Oak Canyon and Tuscany Hills area.
In Iowa, Grand Mound Communications Company of Grand Mound, Iowa, has been approved for a $4.2 million loan to construct a fiber-to-the-premise broadband system in the town of DeWitt. Over 2,600 homes and businesses are expected to gain access to high-speed Internet technologies as a result of the added infrastructure.
In Kansas, Nex-Tech, Inc. of Lenora, Kan., has been approved for a $6.5 million loan to purchase and upgrade infrastructure to serve 5,400 homes and businesses in the communities of Plainville, Smith Center and Stockton.
In Michigan, Trophy Technologies, Inc. of Three Rivers, Mich., has been approved for a $1.9 million loan to expand its current wireless broadband network to serve the communities of Burr Oak, Colon, Constantine, Centreville, Mendon, Sturgis, Three Rivers, White Pigeon, Marcellus, Schoolcraft, Florence, Nottawa, Fabius and Lockport.
In South Dakota, Sancom, Inc. of Woonsocket, S.D., has been approved for a $13.5 million loan to deploy mainline cable and install equipment to benefit 8,000 homes and businesses in Sancom's service area of Davison and Beadle Counties.
In Texas, ETS Telephone Company & Subsidiaries of Houston, Texas, has been approved for a $22.7 million loan to provide over 9,272 households and businesses in Fort Bend and Harris Counties access to broadband services.
"These funds are part of the Bush Administration's commitment to work in partnership with the private sector to bring universal access to broadband technologies to rural communities," said Acting Under Secretary for Rural Development Gilbert Gonzalez.
Funding for each of the loans announced will be contingent upon meeting the conditions of the loan agreements. USDA provides a number of other important tools to advance broadband service in rural America, including the Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant program which provides advance technologies for educational and health care needs.
Since the beginning of the Bush Administration, over $3.2 billion in telecommunication funding has provided more than a million rural homes and businesses with access to high speed broadband connections. To learn more about available funding through USDA's broadband program, visit http://www.usda.gov/ or contact USDA Rural Development broadband staff at (202) 720-9554.
USDA Rural Development's mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As a venture capital entity, Rural Development provides equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA's web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov.