THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 4, 2010
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Recovery Act Broadband Awards for Missouri
Projects to Bring Jobs, Economic Opportunity to Local Community
WASHINGTON – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the funding of 8 new Recovery Act broadband infrastructure projects in Missouri. Overall, 126 new broadband infrastructure projects that will create jobs and provide rural residents in 38 states and Native American tribal areas access to improved service are receiving Recovery Act funding today. Broadband access plays a critical role in expanding economic, health care, educational and public safety services in underserved rural communities. Today’s announcement is part of the second round of USDA broadband funding through the Recovery Act….
….According to analysis released by the National Economic Council last year, overall Recovery Act investments in broadband are expected to create tens of thousands of jobs in the near term and expand economic development and job opportunities in communities that would otherwise be left behind in the new knowledge-based economy. Recovery Act broadband projects help bring down the cost of private investment, attract Internet service providers to new areas, improve digital literacy among students and workers, and help create new opportunities in employment, education, and entrepreneurship by wiring homes and businesses. With new or increased broadband access, communities can compete on a level playing field to attract new businesses, schools can create distance learning opportunities, medical professionals can provide cost-efficient remote diagnoses and care, and business owners can expand the market for their products beyond their neighborhoods to better compete in the global economy….
You think a lack of access to broadband in rural Missouri isn’t a problem that needed to be addressed? Senator Claire McCaskill heard about it in a town hall in Sedalia, Missouri on May 27, 2009:
…Question: My question was about Internet for rural areas. I currently live in Kansas City but I’ve built a house near… Probably got everything the government wants, geothermal, and [crosstalk]…
Senator McCaskill: Good for you.
Question: …thermopane glass, and things can I get tax credits. ‘Cause I’m trying to move my job from Kansas City to…I can’t get Internet connection. I can’t apply to the government to get my tax credits. I can’t get a job because I can’t get Internet. Well, the local Internet company, you can fill the name out here…
Senator McCaskill: It’s okay, you can do it [crosstalk]
Question: …Communications, they told me a year ago, cable’s coming up the highway. I have to have Internet secure DSL cable, which is what they provide for my job to let me work from home. So, they said it’s coming. So we started building. So now my house is done. All’s I have to do is put up a mailbox and I can move in. Well they went in the other direction. They stopped and went north of…so now they, I’ve got Internet to the south of me, Internet to the north of me, but they won’t come between us ’cause there’s not enough people there for them to make a big profit. So [crosstalk]…
Senator McCaskill: We can help.
Question: Well I asked about the stimulus money from them.
Senator McCaskill: There’s a bunch.
Question: And there’s a bunch, and they [garbled] that money. So, a mutual friend of yours…gave me the document for the Internet companies. This money for them is for technology, buy technology to access the lines so they can hang our wires and buy equipment. But it’s not providing jobs. …Communications needs another crew so they can put my Internet in, or they need somebody to say, “Hey, they need a little boot in the behind. Say hey, here’s somebody that can…” [crosstalk]
Senator McCaskill: Well I’ll loan my boot. [laughter]
Question: I need [crosstalk] [garbled]…
Senator McCaskill: Seriously, you need to talk to my staff when this is over because I think we can help.
I’m on the Commerce committee and there’s two pots of money for rural Internet, both USDA and over in Commerce. And it’s ridiculous, you know why there’s two pots of money? This is embarrassing. There’s two pots of money because of the jurisdiction of committees. [laughter] The Agriculture committee didn’t want to let go of it and so they wanted it under the Ag committee for USDA. So that’s where the RUS program started. But then the Commerce committee didn’t want to give it up, so they have another program over, under Commerce. You got two competing programs, and by the way, they are not the same, they’re different, and it’s a mess. And, and frankly, one of, one of those programs allowed people to use that money to put Internet in the suburbs of Dallas. As opposed to rural Internet. Okay? Because, of course, it was more, they’re gonna make more money in the suburbs of Dallas and the way they defined the area. So, we know a bunch about this and there is a bunch of money in the stimulus and it’s supposed to be for crews. And if they’re not using it for crews I want to know about it. So, let me get involved, we’ll find out about your particular situation. It might be a good case study for me to go, “Hey, what about this guy in…?” Okay? All right, we’ll do that. That’ll be fun. [applause]….
The grants [pdf] announced on August 4th for Missouri:
Orchard Farm Telephone Co. MO
This $604,000 grant to Orchard Farm Telephone Company with an additional $201,000 of outside capital will bring high-speed DSL broadband service to unserved establishments within its rural service territory, which is comparable to the DSL service provided in its more populated areas. Orchard Farm Telephone’s project stands to benefit approximately 221 people, 47 businesses, and 3 other community institutions. In addition to the jobs this project will create upfront, it will help drive economic development and create jobs for decades to come.
Grand River Mutual Telephone Corporation MO
This $12.3 million grant to Grand River Mutual Telephone Company will provide broadband service to the towns of Browning, Purdin, Linneus, and Meadville, Missouri, and their surrounding rural areas via a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network. Grand River Mutual Telephone’s project stands to benefit approximately 2,800 people, 750 businesses, and 20 other community institutions. In addition to the jobs this project will create upfront, it will help drive economic development and create jobs for decades to come.
Grand River Mutual Telephone Corporation MO
This $9 million grant to Grand River Mutual Telephone Company will provide broadband service to the towns of Denver, Gentry, and New Hampton, Missouri, and their surrounding rural areas via a fiber-to-the-home network. Grand River Mutual Telephone’s project stands to benefit approximately 1,500 people, 350 businesses, and 8 other community institutions. In addition to the jobs this project will create upfront, it will help drive economic development and create jobs for decades to come.
Socket Telecom, LLC MO
This $23 million award to Socket Telecom, LLC will offer Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP) service to households, businesses, and critical community organizations who are currently underserved in mid-Missouri. Approximately 6,500 people stand to benefit, as do more than 260 businesses and 36 community institutions. Socket Telecom estimates the project will directly support 525 jobs upfront, and will also drive economic deve
lopment and create jobs for decades to come.
Utopian Wireless Corporation MO
This project, funded through this award of approximately $250,000, will bring WiMAX infrastructure to rural communities in and around Benton, Missouri. More than 2,600 people, approximately 56 local businesses and 30 community institutions stand to benefit from this improved service. Not only will this project create jobs upfront, it will help drive economic development in the community that creates jobs for years to come.
Big River Broadband, LLC MO
This $24.3 million award to Big River Broadband LLC, with an additional $4.3 million in outside capital will bring High Speed Internet Access to a seven county area in southeast Missouri at download speeds up to 14.4 megabytes per second and upload speeds of 5.8 megabytes per second. Big River will be deploying a wireless broadband network using its existing AWS licensed spectrum along with High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) technology over these licensed frequencies. This technology supports high speed connectivity to the Internet for data, voice and video applications, for both mobile and fixed locations. Big River Broadband’s project stands to benefit more than 100,000….
Windstream Corporation MO
This $10.3 million grant to Windstream Corporation with an additional $3.4 million of outside capital will allow Windstream to extend its broadband network to provide broadband to many currently unserved homes and businesses. Windstream proposes to use industry standard ADSL2+ (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line) protocols that will allow customers to enjoy broadband at speeds of up to 12 Mpbs. Windstream’s project stands to benefit more than 10,000 people, approximately 200 businesses, and 40 community institutions. Windstream Corporation estimates that this project will directly create at least 225 jobs upfront and help drive economic development in the community that creates jobs for years to come.
Finally Broadband, LLC MO
This $1 million award to Finally Broadband, LLC will high quality value priced broadband Internet services to rural families and businesses and high quality discounted broadband Internet services to Community Anchor Points. Finally Broadband’s project stands to benefit more than 100,000 people, 7,000 businesses, and 400 other community institutions. In addition to the jobs this project will create upfront, it will help drive economic development and create jobs for decades to come.
Hmmm. You think some folks will reject their new high speed Internet because it’s socialism? I don’t think so.