The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announced the awarding of $310 million in grants to service providers that operate in 14 rural communities under the federal broadband stimulus program.
Included in the latest round were a mix of incumbent phone companies and electric utilities building out middle- and last-mile networks. Among the winners were Alaskan-based carrier GCI, which will use a $88 million grant to build a middle-mile network connecting 65 towns in Southwestern Alaska. Other grant recipients included a Missouri electric cooperative that will use a $19.1 million grant to build a fiber network that will connect 5,000 homes, businesses, and public safety agencies in Ralls County, Mo.
Just one wireless last-mile project was in the bunch. LaMotte Telephone Co. received funding for a 300-foot tower and WiMAX installation for the rural area of Springbrook, Iowa.
Meanwhile, RUS plans to issue all of its first-round due diligence rejection letters to applicants by mid-February, which, if the timeframe holds, will give round-two applicants a full 30 days to craft their applications and ensure they don't overlap with awards that are already granted in the first round. Applications for the second round are due March 15, according to Stimulatingbroadband.com.
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