On February 17, 2009 President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. As a result of this Act, two Broadband groundbreaking ceremonies were held in Louisiana during the month of October.
Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu and USDA Rural Development State Director Clarence W. Hawkins along with staff members were on hand for the announcement of two major broadband projects in Washington and Morehouse Parish. “By bringing this technology to underserved areas of the state, we will better equip our students with the necessary tools needed for a better quality education,” said Hawkins.
These funds were made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and delivered through USDA Rural Development’s Broadband Initiatives Program. Pride Network, Inc. received a grant in the amount of $17.7 million and a loan of $18.4 million from USDA for the parishes of Tangipahoa, Washington, and St. Helena. This project will benefit approximately 25,000 residents, 3,000 businesses, 200 community facilities and create 1,300 jobs.
Northeast Louisiana Telephone Company, Inc. received a $4.3 million grant and $8.12 million loan from USDA to provide broadband in Morehouse parish. This is a “Last Mile” project that will bring fiber to homes in Bonita and Collinston.
These projects will create jobs and connect rural families in Louisiana to the rest of the world by providing access to high-speed Internet and enhance the quality of life in these rural communities.