Bangor, ME, Oct 19, 2012 -- Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager today announced funding to expand access to broadband and telecommunications services in rural America.
"USDA and the Obama administration continue to work to ensure that rural residents have access to expanded educational, health care, business and social opportunities through robust broadband and telecommunication services, ” Tonsager said. “These funds will help modernize communications service and delivery for rural businesses and residential customers.”
In Maine, the Maine Public Broadcasting Network has been selected to receive a Public Television Digital Transition Grant in the amount of $750,000 for the replacement of old analog microwave equipment. This project would replace 26 analog microwave transmitters and 28 microwave receivers. Combining Ethernet connections and elimination of redundant microwave paths results in a significant reduction of the current analog distribution network.
USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel said, “I am pleased USDA Rural Development could assist Maine Public Broadcasting Network in updating its equipment so that it can continue to provide its valuable educational, cultural, and local programming that enriches the lives of many Maine viewers.”
Tonsager noted that in the recently completed fiscal year, USDA Rural Development has funded over $170 million in rural telecommunications projects nationwide to expand rural access to educational, health care, business and social services.
USDA Rural Development is funding 24 projects through several loan and grant programs administered by the Rural Utilities Service (RUS); Broadband, Telecommunications loans, the Community Connect grant program, and the Public Television Digital Transition.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).