Economists Put the Tab at $61 Billion to Bring Fiber Broadband to Rural U.S.

The cost to deploy fiber to unserved U.S. rural areas is about $61 billion, said Jim Stegeman, president of CostQuest Associates, an economic consultancy that specializes in telecom. Among CostQuest’s credentials: the company created the cost model used to determine broadband deployment costs for the...Learn More

Senate Farm Bill Would Put New Limits on RUS Broadband Loan Program

The Senate yesterday passed its version of a 2018 Farm Bill that would put new limits on broadband loans made through the USDA Rural Utilities service. The Senate Farm Bill RUS broadband loan limitations pertain to the percentage of a deployment project that can involve...Learn More

Broadband Service Provider Associations Seek Changes to RUS Broadband Loan Rules

Several groups representing broadband providers co-signed a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee asking them to change RUS broadband loan rules to focus funding on areas where either all, or at least 90%, of the population cannot get broadband...Learn More

O’Rielly: RUS Should Consult with the FCC on $600 Million Rural Broadband Pilot

When it comes to federal rural broadband funding, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly wants to make sure the left hand knows what the right hand is doing. Now that Congress has allocated $600 million in new funding to the Rural Utilities Service for a RUS rural...Learn More

RUS Takes a New Approach to Broadband Loan Applications

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service has begun accepting RUS broadband loan applications for fiscal year 2018. For years, the program has provided low-interest loans for broadband network construction and is currently operating based on parameters established in the 2014 Farm Bill. There...Learn More

Congressional Spending Bill Allocates $600 Million in New Rural Broadband Funding

New rural broadband funding is included in the $1.3 trillion congressional omnibus bill to fund the government this year. The bill calls for an additional $600 million to be distributed through the Rural Utilities Service (RUS). The funding authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to create...Learn More

Co-Mo Electric Cooperative CEO Named RUS Administrator

U.S. Department of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said today that President Trump plans to appoint Kenneth Johnson, CEO of rural Missouri-based Co-Mo Electric Cooperative, to be the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service Administrator. Co-Mo has offered broadband to its members over fiber-to-the-home infrastructure since 2012 and that...Learn More

Cooperatives Embrace Fiber Broadband: ILSR Finds 87 Cooperative Gigabit Deployments Nationwide

Telecom and electric cooperatives are playing an important role in bringing high-speed broadband to rural America, according to a new report from the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). Using FCC data, researchers identified 87 cooperative gigabit deployments as of...Learn More

USDA Announces $207 Million in Loans and Grants for Rural Broadband Funding

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $207 million is being made available for rural broadband funding yesterday. The funding is a combination of loans and grants and is a part of USDA’s Telecommunications program, which has provided financial assistance to over 500 providers across the...Learn More

B-CROP Act Aims to Add $50M to RUS Rural Broadband Funding

Two senators have announced the Broadband Connections for Rural Opportunities Program (B-CROP) Act, which would increase Rural Utilities Service funding for rural broadband by up to $50 million annually. Traditionally, RUS rural broadband funding has consisted only of low-interest loans, but the B-CROP Act calls...Learn More

Lake Connections Sale Highlights Municipal Decision to Get Out of the Broadband Business

The Lake County board of supervisors recently unanimously voted for a Lake Connections sale, offering the municipal broadband network up to what they hope is the highest bidder. Lake Connections was formed seven years ago and obtained $66 million in funding to build the municipally...Learn More

$43.6 Million in New USDA Broadband Loans Targets Rural Fiber Broadband Projects

The Department of Agriculture announced four new broadband loans totaling $43.6 million yesterday. USDA broadband loans awarded will provide funding at low interest rates to network operators to build or improve network infrastructure in rural areas. USDA Broadband Loans Awarded The four loans included: $24.8...Learn More

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