For over 15 years, Valley Telephone Cooperative, Inc. provided its customers in the southernmost part of Texas with broadband service. Neighboring communities, however, lacked access to high-speed Internet. That changed seven years ago this week when Congress passed and President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Thanks to Recovery Act funding, Valley Telephone Cooperative received a $40 million loan and a $38.5 million grant from USDA to build broadband in unserved and underserved rural areas. Now, 11 communities—many with residents who live below the poverty line—can take advantage of services that until now were unavailable.
Dramatic increases in Internet speeds mean that residents no longer need to wait for computers at the Reber Memorial Library in Raymondville to file income taxes. Residents can apply for jobs, and employers in the area can receive employment applications via email. Fast, reliable Internet is a key factor in area job growth.
Prior to the investment by USDA Rural Development and Valley Telephone Cooperative, Economy Awards Company in Delmita saw customer orders lag as large graphics file transfers choked their Internet connection. With the new high-speed service, Economy Awards has seen a five-fold growth in their business. Now, Economy Awards credits the Valley Telephone Cooperative broadband project with giving them the tools to jump significantly in front of their competition.
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HOW DO GET A GRANT?
@GLENN SAXTON - Glenn, for more information about broadband or other USDA programs, contact your state’s USDA Rural Development office: <a href="http://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/state-offices" rel="nofollow">http://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/state-offices</a>. Thanks.
Keep up the good work you