USDA tweaks rules for rural broadband grants

 US Ag secretary Tom Vilsack says his agency has come up with new rules to fund broadband services in “unserved” rural areas through its Rural Development Community Connect Grant program.  He says they’ve simplified the application process, are allowing grant applicants to use better tools to define their proposed service areas, and are giving grant applicants… Read more »

USDA state Rural Development leaders meet

State directors of USDA Rural Development agencies met in Washington last week to discuss their program priorities in light of expected budget cuts. Janie Dunning, director of Missouri Rural Development, tells Brownfield that broadband, housing, business, jobs and infrastructure remain the priorities. Dunning tells Brownfield Ag News, “These priorities have been identified through surveys and… Read more »

Vilsack says broadband order to help rural America

President Obama signed an executive order this week giving federal agencies the green light to proceed with construction of broadband on and through federal properties to help reduce the cost and increase the speed of its deployment across the country. The Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, the Interior, Transportation, Veterans Affairs and the US Postal… Read more »

Executive order for broadband acceleration

President Obama signed an executive order this week giving federal agencies the green light to proceed with construction of broadband on and through federal properties to help reduce the cost and increase the speed of its deployment across the country. The Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, the Interior, Transportation, Veterans Affairs and the US Postal… Read more »

Ag doing what Obama wants for economy, says Vilsack

U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the emphasis on building a stronger economy and middle class – outlined by President Obama in his State of the Union speech last night – is what’s happening in Rural America. Farmers make, create and innovate – says Vilsack – and that lends itself to increased exports, which helps… Read more »

USDA says Rural Development progress made

The head of the USDA Rural Development Office says the work they’re doing is having a positive impact on Rural America. Undersecretary Dallas Tonsager says the 2011 Rural Development Fiscal Year 2011 Annual Report shows they have invested almost $29 Billion dollars and “created or saved an estimated 440-thousand” jobs through the rural business cooperative,… Read more »

Rural broadband company files for Chapter 11

A Colorado-based rural wireless broadband company that received a nearly 300-million dollar loan from the USDA has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  That’s according to a report in the Denver Business Journal. Open Range Communications says it is trying to find a buyer for the struggling operation—and if none emerges in the next month, it… Read more »

Ag commissioners back mobile merger

The agriculture commissioners of South Dakota and Iowa are among nine state ag leaders supporting the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile, according to Broadcasting & Cable magazine. The ag commissioners – also from Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Arkansas and Texas – say expanded wireless broadband in rural areas would help farmers with better… Read more »

Iowa tour highlights importance of broadband

The importance of high-speed broadband service to farms and rural areas was the focus of an event in north-central Iowa on Wednesday. The administrator of the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS)—Jonathan Adelstein—toured a farm near Rudd, Iowa where fiber-optic network service is being deployed by a local independent telecommunications company, OmniTel Communications.  Adelstein watched as… Read more »

Rural Utilities Service administrator to visit Iowa

The administrator of the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service Jonathan Adelstein will be in north-central Iowa today (Tuesday).  He will visit an OmniTel Communications site in Rudd, Iowa where the company is in the process of deploying a 35-million dollar fiber-optic network.  Adelstein’s visit is part of a campaign called The Great Disconnect, launched by a… Read more »