Wednesday, April, 20, 2011 marked an important day for northeastern Minnesotans. Ground was broken to mark the beginning of a three-year project to supply high-speed broadband access across eight counties and surrounding of the Arrowhead region of Minnesota. The project was funded with $43.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in conjunction with USDA Rural Development. The Northeast Service Cooperative (NESC) in Mt. Iron, Minn. will oversee the project.
Senator Al Franken attended the groundbreaking and told the gathered media that creating rural broadband opportunities was a big part of the Recovery Act. Read more »
USDA Rural Development Rural Utilities Service Administrator Jonathan Adelstein and the Rural Development Broadband Division Staff welcomed over 200 people to the National Broadband Workshop on April 20 – 21, 2011 in Downtown Denver.
While rural communities face unique challenges in creating and sustaining good jobs, they are also presented with unprecedented opportunities for economic growth. Increasing their access to broadband is one way in which Rural Development can assist communities on this journey. Providing broadband service to our rural communities is a vital platform for job creation and a springboard for economic development for years to come. Workshop sessions held focused on a variety of topics including financial analysis and business plan preparation. Read more »
The Obama Administration made historic investments in rural America in FY 2010, paving the way for increased economic growth and productivity over the long term. More than 33,700 rural jobs were created and saved as a result of assistance Rural Development provided to more than 500 rural businesses; more than 150,000 rural residents became homeowners in FY 2010, and 4.67 billion kilowatt hours of energy were saved through Rural Development energy programs. As a matter of fact, USDA investments in renewable energy led to the production of nearly 1 billion gallons of advanced biofuels in FY 2010. These and other details are included in a report I issued today. Read more »
Rainbow in the Grand Canyon as seen from Near Mather Point on the South Rim, Grand Canyon N.P. NPS photo.
Few places in the U.S. are as secluded as Supai. Nestled in a side canyon of the Grand Canyon, it has the distinction of being the most remote community in the lower 48 states. The only way in or out is to walk, ride a mule, or take a helicopter. Read more »
I was honored to host a panel last week at the Department of Agriculture’s Ag Outlook Forum to showcase the impact of USDA broadband programs on so many in rural communities. Our February 25th Rural Development panel, “Building a Stronger Rural Infrastructure: Broadband,” portrayed the ripple effect these investments have.
We heard from Luis Reyes, CEO of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, which has provided electric power to consumers since WWII. They got into the broadband business because they recognized a need. Like many with a sense of community and knowledge of how broadband affects economic development, they successfully applied for Recovery Act broadband funding from USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development agency. “This will ultimately change the landscape of New Mexico,” Luis told the audience. “This is an opportunity for us to partner with colleges, health care facilities and the community to expand businesses, hire more employees, build markets and improve healthcare. To think that a small co-op in New Mexico can turn a project into a model program nationwide is exciting.” Read more »
Recently, the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth hosted an event to commemorate the award of grants and loans to Air Advantage LLC through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Broadband Initiative Program and discussed the progress of the project to date. This is one of the largest single awards for USDA Rural Development in Michigan and it has tremendous potential to increase the economy in the Thumb region. Read more »