(Hawarden) — U-S Department of Agriculture Rural Development made an announcement Friday morning regarding a $7 million dollar grant given to Premier Communications, headquartered in Sioux Center, to expand broadband
internet to rural areas of northwest Iowa and southeast South Dakota. The announcement was made at a Sioux County family livestock farm near Hawarden, by former Iowa Agriculture Secretary, and now USDA Under Secretary, Bill Northey. Northey equates the importance of investment of extending
broadband internet to the rural areas much like during the turn of the century when rural America first received electricity and telephone service.
He tells of the economic importance to have rural regions connected to the broadband internet.
Northey says Congress allocated $600 million dollars to be invested for the specific purpose of introducing fast-speed broadband internet into rural regions. He says so far, only a handful of companies nationwide have benefited from the rural investment.
Northey says in order to be eligible for the federal grant, an investment partnership consisting of state and local funding also had to be secured.
He gives the statistics as to how many people will now have access to the broadband internet as a result of the approved grant.
The USDA Under Secretary says the return on the investment of rural access broadband internet will be staggering to calculate.
Northey expands on his answer about the return investment from having rural America connected to the internet.
Premier Communications which serves 28 communities within northwest Iowa and southeast South Dakota made an initial investment of $2.5 million, however a company spokesman says the actual investment when completed may be closer to
$12 million dollars. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds also attended the announcement ceremony.
Northey Speech During Announcement
Governor Kim Reynolds Speech
USDA Rural Development Iowa Director, Grant Menke Speech
Shirley Bloomfield – CEO of NTCA – Rural Broadband Association