More than $29.5 million in funding under the Remote Access Rural Broadband Grant program will go toward developing or providing better high-speed internet connections across the state.
Gov. Pete Ricketts announced the grants and recipients Thursday, including several in west central Nebraska.
“These grants will lead to better broadband service in many areas of the state that are currently underserved,” Ricketts said in a media release. “The enhanced service will equip more of our rural communities with the technology needed to conduct business online, make virtual health visits and engage in distance learning opportunities.”
The broadband program is one of four grants designed and administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development this year to support the state’s economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“COVID-19 has underscored the need for a more concentrated, collaborative effort to improve our state’s broadband infrastructure,” Anthony L. Goins, the director of the Department of Economic Development, said in the media release. “This grant is an important first step toward ensuring all citizens of Nebraska have the opportunity to participate in the digital economy.”
The broadband grant, made possible by federal CARES Act funding, includes $1.08 billion of coronavirus relief funds allocated to the state and was announced by DED last spring. The grants target areas of the state where high speed internet service is nonexistent or subpar.
When all projects are completed, a minimum of 17,600 housing units will gain the ability to subscribe to broadband internet service. Most of the projects are scheduled for completion by the end of the year.
Area grant recipients include:
» Charter Communications Inc. in Brule, $141,400 for 186 units.
» Consolidated Telephone Co. Inc., rural Dunning, $39,694 for 12 units.
» Consolidated Telephone Co. Inc., rural Hyannis, $151,734 for 25 units.
» Consolidated Telephone Co. Inc., rural Seneca, $151,145 for 19 units.
» USA Communications LLC, Elwood, $281,206 for 361 units.
» Great Plains Communications, Callaway, $650,753 for 384 units.
» Great Plains Communications, Sutherland, $1,134,424 for 608 units.
» Inventive Wireless of Nebraska LLC (Vistabeam), Chase County, $207,885 for 225 units.
» Inventive Wireless of Nebraska LLC (Vistabeam), Cheyenne County, $228,044 for 140 units.
» Inventive Wireless of Nebraska LLC (Vistabeam), Deuel County, $131,178 for 200 units.
» Inventive Wireless of Nebraska LLC (Vistabeam), Perkins County, $198,229 for 225 units.