Rural Broadband

Credit: WCBI
Published on October 23, 2019 -

Rural Broadband

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to expand high speed internet, or broadband, to rural areas.


Rural Broadband

The u-s department of agriculture is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to expand high speed internet, or broadband, in rural areas.

This morning, stakeholders in high speed internet expansion were able to hear from government representatives and other experts ..

Our allie martin has more.

Getting high speed, broadband internet to rural areas has become a top priority for the usda.

Nats but until this year, electric cooperatives in mississippi couldn't provide broadband internet service to their customers.

That changed with the passage of the mississippi broadband enabling act.

Now, co ops must look at funding options.

That's why the usda held a "mississippi rural broadband workshop" at the msu extension complex in verona.

"providing rural broadband to rural citizens is different than providing broadband in urban areas, it will take a different, sometimes complex mixture of different entities involved, whether it's rural telephone companies, partnering with electric cooperatives, maybe partnering with some independent service providers."

Many of those stakeholders were at the workshop, along with residents from across northeast mississippi.

"i've learned the government has many programs that can be utilized by cooperatives, also learned there are a lot of grants available for us."

Standup bridge there is more than 1 point 2 billion dollars available in grants and loans for co ops nationwide.

The money is part of president trump's proposal to modernize the nation's crumbling infrastructure.

Each co op must look at the costs and return on investment to supply broadband service, and the process to get the grants and loans is highly competitive.

"this is a grassroots approach by the usda to get the word out that the dollars are available and make sure, we don't leave one penny on the table that could be coming to mississippi to solve what is a rural crisis throughout our state in the lack of internet service, make sure we're getting those federal dollars here."

Under state law, rural electric power associations must do feasibility studies before offering high speed, broadband internet service.

Allie martin, wcbi news at least four of the state's 25 rural electric power cooperatives are installing fiber optic cables for high speed internet service.

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