The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service has announced $1.2 billion in grants and loans for 126 broadband deployment projects in 38 states and tribal areas (pdf). The new awards, announced Wednesday, include grants for WiMax, fiber and DSL deployments. Additional grants are expected from the NTIA next week.
The grants and loans will enable telemedicine and distance learning and allow farmers and ranchers to get up-to-the-minute information on weather and commodity prices, said Tom Vilsack, U.S. secretary of agriculture. About 5% of all U.S. schools will benefit from broadband projects funded by his agency, he said.
Fiber was the big winner in the new grants and loans, but several several WiMax projects were included.
- Windstream Corporation won $38 million to bring fixed wireless to geographically challenging areas in California.
- Big River Broadband got $24.3 million to bring High Speed Internet Access to a seven county area in southeast Missouri, deploying a wireless broadband network using its existing AWS licensed spectrum along with High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) technology.
- Utopian Wireless, based in Bethesda, Maryland, received about $7.9 million for 10 WiMax projects in seven states, including Alabama, Ohio and Illinois.
- Crystal Automation Systems received a $26.5 million award, with $7.9 million of it in loans, to build a hybrid fiber and WiMax network in rural Michigan. The project is expected to bring broadband to more than 140,000 people and 5,000 business, the USDA said.
- The Warm Springs Telecommunications Co., won $5.4 million for a hybrid fiber and wireless network to reach 1,800 people.
The RUS and the NTIA received $7.2 billion for broadband projects in the ARRA. The two agencies have until the end of September to distribute the funds. The RUS has distributed more than $2.6 billion in broadband grants and loans through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), a huge economic stimulus package passed by the Congress in early 2009.
Related Dailywireless articles include; Round Two Stimulus: $4.8 Billion for Broadband, 66 Broadband Grants Awarded, ARPA-E: 43 Grants Announced, NTIA: Another $63M in Grants, Government Announces Broadband Grants, FCC Okays Terrestrial LTE for SkyTerra, Cisco’s Connected Communities Initiative, The 700MHz Network: Who Pays?, The National Broadband Plan, National Broadband Plan Previewed, D-Block: It’s Done; Congress Pays