Via Inside Indiana Business:
Smithville has been awarded a nearly $38 million loan from the federal stimulus package to help build a fiber network in rural parts of Indiana. The loan comes through USDA Rural Development to fund a project that will bring fiber-optic broadband services directly to homes in sections of central, south central and southern Indiana.
WASHINGTON, DC – Rural communities have rarely been first on the list to receive technology upgrades of any kind. Indiana’s rural communities are no different, struggling today to upgrade to a broadband system that can support sustained economic development and a higher quality of life. However, rural residents and businesses in certain areas of Indiana can soon boast about a new development that is not yet widely available, even in urban settings.
USDA Rural Development has announced Smithville Telephone Company has been awarded a $37,729,143 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act loan for new construction of a Last Mile Non-Remote Broadband Infrastructure. The project will provide Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) with voice, data, and video to 18,440 customer sites in the area served by Smithville.
This region in central, south central and southern Indiana is about to receive data, voice and video at the speed of light through cutting-edge technology that brings fiber-optic broadband directly into the home.
“President Obama’s Recovery Act has helped create jobs and lay a new foundation for economic growth during the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “USDA has used Recovery Act funding to create badly-needed jobs and stimulate local economies, help farmers and rural businesses make it through tough times, ensure that struggling families can put food on the table, and build and revitalize critical infrastructure in rural communities across America.”
Smithville recently also acquired funding for a $90 million fiber rebuild through a federal loan program from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Rural Utilities Services (RUS) Division of USDA has provided long-term loans to a number of communications companies upgrading services to rural areas, including major rural areas in the southeast United States.
“The USDA has long had programs in place to advance rural development, but to be effective, they require an innovative and risk-taking company to help execute them,” said Phil Lehmkuhler, Indiana state director for the United States Department of Agriculture. “Smithville represents a perfect example of a company bringing much needed state-of-the-art service to rural customers by leveraging USDA financial resources. Smithville’s investment can bring real economic development and advancement to southern Indiana through their vision.”
Led by chairman and CEO Darby A. McCarty since 2003, Smithville is one of Indiana’s oldest and largest independent communication companies, with its telephone division founded in 1922. A long-time champion of southern Indiana customers and a proven early adopter of state-of-the-art communication services, Smithville began converting its operations to a digital platform in the 1980s. In 2003, the company created a new commercial division, Smithville Digital, which serves up a fiber-based technology portfolio of physical and electronic services providing high-speed, reliable and secure broadband access and industrial data transport for Hoosier businesses statewide.
President Obama signed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law on Feb. 17, 2009. It is designed to jumpstart the nation’s economy, create or save millions of jobs and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act includes measures to modernize our nation’s infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need.
Single family home loans, rural rental housing, water and waste water facility funding, business and industry guaranteed loans, and community facility loans and grants are financial resources available from USDA Rural Development. Further information on rural programs is also available at USDA’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov.
Source: USDA Rural Development