A Kansas Telephone Company Uses Recovery Act Funds to Provide State-of-the –Art Service to a Rural Network
Greenwood County, Kansas is a fragile rural economy. Despite the current challenges of outmigration, unemployment and economic resources a bold step was taken recently as Madison Telephone, LLC broke ground to begin construction of a Fiber-to-the-Premises project in its certified service area, which includes the communities of Madison and Lamont.
Madison Telephone, LLC received a Recovery Act USDA Broadband award in that included a $3,519,750 loan and a $3,519,750 grant. According to Mary Meyer, CEO, the Recovery Act Funding will help “ensure the future of the company.” She also stressed that the public/private investment was equally important to the future of the communities and the county and the groundbreaking personified the passion of citizens to preserve their rural way of life.
At the groundbreaking, Meyer explained to the crowd that the new broadband infrastructure will be tied to the Kansas Fiber Network which is a broadband network that knits all 32 Kansas independent telephone companies together. This ensures a stronger service network to rural customers as well as redundancy if a line break occurs somewhere in the system.
Greenwood County’s Economic Development Director, Ashley Bogle, told the audience that without this infrastructure investment she can’t do her job which is to spur business development and employment in the county. She also said that the generations who have grown up with technology won’t consider living in an area without high speed internet service.
The company and the customers they serve are looking to the future, according to Meyer. “Without the company’s investment matched by the Recovery Act funds, this project simply could not have happened,” she said.