Awards made by the Rural Utilities Service in the broadband stimulus program last year will bring broadband service to 2.8 million households, 364,000 businesses and 32,000 anchor institutions across more than 300K square miles, according to a summary report titled “Advancing Broadband” issued yesterday.
“Advancing Broadband” contains summaries of all of the 297 broadband infrastructure awards made by the RUS in two funding rounds, organized on a state-by-state basis. It also contains summary data about the program, noting for example that 213 projects were for wireline networks, 51 were for wireless networks and 33 were for programs with both a wireline and wireless component.
Broadband access is one of the pillars of rural economic development, wrote RUS Administrator Jonathan Adelstein in a blog post about the new report that touted the benefits of broadband. “Products, services and ideas originated in rural communities can find a global market,” said Adelstein. Life-long learning, government services and quality medical advice can be brought right into your community and home. Jobs and economic opportunity will be created as successful applicants build out [broadband networks] and as rural farms, businesses and communities find new ways to build on this exciting new infrastructure.”
As a result of the new networks, approximately 25,00 new jobs will be created immediately and “many thousands more” will be created in the future, Adelstein said. According to Adelstein’s post, the broadband stimulus funding awarded by the RUS included $2.5 billion in grants, and approximately another $1 billion in loans. In addition, $285 million of non-federal funds were committed for investment in the broadband projects.
In his post, Adelstein also included the above video interview of Bill and Shelley Nondorf of Hoxie, Kansas who have been able to grow their seed business since obtaining broadband service from a provider that won stimulus funding. In the video, Bill Nondorf notes that he now can respond more quickly to customer inquiries because he can obtain information about seed availability on line rather than having to place a more time-consuming phone call. And more prompt response to customer inquiries can mean the difference between making or not making a sale, Nondorf says.