broadbandThe USDA today announced an $18.88 million grant under its ReConnect Pilot Program. The funding is designed to improve connectivity for almost 270 households in Yakutat, Alaska.

The New Internet Communications for Everyone in Yakutat (NICEY) FTTH network will target all 662 year-round residents and businesses in the community. The network will be connected via a 230-mile Cordova Telecom microwave middle-mile network to the community of Cordova. There, the network will connect to the provider’s submarine fiber.

“The Yakutat Tlingit Tribe and our members are excited to work with Cordova Telecom to bring high-speed broadband to Yakutat,” Nathan Moulton the Executive Director of the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe, said in a press release. “The USDA grant investment in Yakutat will positively impact lives and opportunities for everyone in our community.”

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The funding is part of the first round of ReConnect investments by the USDA. The total budget of the program is $600 million, split equally between the loans, grants and hybrid grant/loan structures. The goal of the program is to improve speeds in areas that have less than 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speeds.

The ReConnect program is gathering momentum and announcements are accelerating. This is the list so far:

  • Late last month, the USDA made a grant of $4.79 million for creation of a FTTP network in Sweetwater County, WY. All West will build the network. It will serve almost 320 households, 20 businesses, 18 farms and schools in Farson and Granger, WY.
  • The USDA is investing $5.2 million through Wave Wireless LLC in Kansas. The network will cover covering 1,390 households, 16 businesses and 23 farms.
  • The USDA announced an investment of $5.13 million in two projects in Utah and western Colorado. Beehive Telephone Company will received $2.4 million to construct a FTTP network in Garfield, Wayne and Box Elder counties. The network will reach 141 households, eight farms and ranches, seven small businesses and the school and fire department in Snowville, Utah.
  • At the same time, the USDA said that Emery Telecommunications & Video will receive $2.7 million to build a network in San Juan County in UT and Dolores County, CO. The investment will impact 528 homes, 20 farms and ranches, 15 small businesses, the fire department, the sheriff’s office and schools in Dove Creek, CO.
  • On Nov. 21, the ReConnect program made a grant of $4.3 million to Seneca Telecommunications, a telecom provider owned by the Seneca Nation. The funding will create a FTTH network available to more than 1,000 households, 58 businesses, 25 farms, three educational facilities, one healthcare facility and one critical care facility in the Seneca Nation’s Cattaraugus Territory in western New York.
  • On Nov. 18, the ReConnect program awarded $41.6 million to Grand River Mutual Telephone to provide funding 2,288 households, 17 businesses and 39 farms in Missouri and southern Iowa.
  • Earlier in November, an award of $7.2 million was made to The Heartland Telecommunications Company of Iowa. The money will be used to provide services to 27 farms and 868 rural households in Iowa and South Dakota. The telco will deploy FTTP networks capable of 1 Gbps symmetrical services.
  • Also earlier this month, the USDA awarded a $27.5 million grant to Star Telephone Membership Corp. of Clinton, NC that will support almost 8,750 households. At the same time, the USDA said that more than 3,000 households will get service via a $4.2 million loan to Oklahoma Western Telephone Company. In early November, the USDA announced an award of $3.8 million to Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative.
  • In October, The USDA made a grant of $9.75 million to Orangeburg County, S.C. The deployment will make service available to 3,911 households, 17 rural businesses, 13 educational facilities, nine critical community facilities and a health care center.
  • The first award was a $2.85 million grant in October to the Forked Deer Electric Cooperative in Tennessee. The money will be used to increase speeds to 100 Mbps for 347 households and one critical care facility spread over 435 square miles.
Image courtesy of flickr user Sean MacEntee.

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