News Release
Release No.STELPRD4013067
ContactSamantha Evenson(701) 530-2043
BISMARCK, ND, Nov 14, 2011 --

@@Jasper Schneider, USDA Rural Development State Director, today announced financing for three North Dakota telephone utilities to build, expand and improve broadband in their rural service territories.

"By providing high speed internet connections, rural communities are able to build strong foundations for economic growth,” said Schneider. "Access to capital to implement these substantial projects will put people to work and provide a platform for business, health care, and educational opportunities.”

The following list of awardees will receive $84.5 million through the Rural Utilities Service, contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the agreement with USDA.

BEK Communications Cooperative (Steele, N.D.) -- $26,746,000 in loan funds will be used to upgrade the facilities in fourteen of BEK’s eighteen exchanges to provide Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP). Upon completion of this project, 100 percent of subscribers will be served by fiber. BEK provides services to over 6,000 subscribers.

SRT Communications, Inc. (Minot, N.D.) -- $24,832,000 in loan funds will be used to install 2,143 miles of buried fiber optic cable and related equipment throughout the proposed FTTP system. The FTTP system will be constructed in areas outside of towns in twelve of SRT’s twenty-six exchanges. The service areas in the towns will continue to be offered DSL at speeds of at least 55 Mbps with its relatively new copper plant. SRT currently provides service to about 35,000 subscribers.

Polar Communications Mutual Aid Corporation (Park River, N.D.) -- $32,939,000 in loan funds will be used to expand FTTP broadband system in eighteen of the corporation’s twenty-eight exchanges. The upgraded system will help meet current and future requirements for delivery of voice, video and high speed data to subscribers. Upon completion of this project, 100 percent of Polar Communications’ subscribers will be served with broadband via various technologies. Polar provides service to about 8,700 subscribers.