USDA Rural Development Recovery Act Investment Brings Broadband to Thousands of Residents of Iowa and Missouri
By Bill Menner and Janie Dunning, USDA Rural Development State Directors of Iowa and Missouri
Bringing broadband to rural communities is about more than guaranteeing your daughter has 24/7 access to Twitter, or giving your son unlimited opportunities to play video games.
Broadband high-speed internet has changed the way Americans live. A start-up company can use a web site to expand to gain a national customer base. A student from the Midwest can take classes online from an instructor in Seattle. A physician in a rural hospital can easily share a patient’s scans with a specialist hundreds of miles away.
People across the country are benefiting from the opportunities that broadband access has given them. However, rural communities are lagging behind.
President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 into law with a vision of knowing it will help America. One part of this act is to fund projects that will provide broadband access to Americans nationwide.
One lucky and deserving recipient of these funds is Grand River Mutual Telephone Corporation.
Grand River Mutual (GRM) serves a 4,500 square-mile region across southern Iowa and northern Missouri. The corporation’s 60-year commitment to their rural region started by providing reliable, affordable telephone service. Now, GRM wants to give the best service available to benefit their customers by providing broadband services.
The Recovery Act, and USDA Rural Development’s broadband program is making this possible.
GRM was awarded Recovery Act loans and grants to fund three separate projects in rural Iowa and Missouri to bring broadband services to 4,292 homes and 884 businesses.
“We are extremely happy to be a recipient of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding,” said Wendel Myers, General Manager of GRM. “Today, with this award, broadband deployment in northern Missouri and southern Iowa will be expanded and accelerated. Our members and customers will have a communications network as robust as our urban neighbors. The network will encourage economic growth and new business development in Grand River Mutual service area.”
Bill Menner and Janie Dunning, USDA Rural Development State Directors in Iowa and Missouri, were proud to help celebrate the opportunities that will now be available to rural communities at an award ceremony in at GRM’s headquarters in Princeton, Missouri, on July 9th. They were joined by Myers, the GRM Board of Directors and staff, mayors of the service areas and state elected officials.
While the event highlighted how important partnerships between states and businesses are, the main celebration was the great impact the funds are going to have on rural Iowa and Missouri.