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Rural broadband projects in CN states get $25 million

(August 22, 2011) - Rural broadband projects in states with Connected Nation programs were today awarded more than $25 million in funding. The Department of Agriculture announced more than $100 million in awards nationally to improve broadband in rural communities

“Without broadband, rural communities, agricultural producers, and business owners face a substantial challenge," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a news release. "These loans and grants will bring the benefits of broadband, including new educational, business, and public health and safety opportunities, to residents living in some of the most remote parts of our Nation.”

The grants are part of the Community Connect program, which provides grants to rural, economically challenged communities. Funds can be used to construct, acquire, or lease facilities to deploy broadband to community facilities such as schools and public safety buildings, as well as residents and businesses in the community, according to the USDA. Each project requires a matching contribution and must serve an area where broadband is not available. The grantee must agree to provide local community centers in the selected towns with at least 10 computers, which are accessible free for two years.

Coleman County Telephone Cooperative Inc. in Texas was the largest single recipient in Connected Nation states, getting a $22.5 million infrastructure loan.

For more about the awards, see the release here.