United States Department
of Agriculture Rural Development
Contact: Alec Lloyd
EAST LANSING, Feb. 17, 2011 U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development State Director for Michigan James J. Turner today commemorated the award of $64 million in grants and loans to Air Advantage LLC through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Broadband Initiative Program and discussed the progress of the project to date.
In order for rural Michigan to compete in an increasingly international economy, it must have access to high-speed communications, Turner said. This is part of an integrated effort by USDA Rural Development to build the infrastructure necessary for future growth.
The funds consist of a $32,300,000 loan and $31,950,000 grant and are being used to place more than 500 miles of high-speed fiber optic cable to connect 200 towers through Bay, Genesee, Huron, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Midland, Oakland, Saginaw, Sanilac, Shiawassee, St. Clair, and Tuscola counties.
The total cost of the project is $74.4 million which includes $10.2 million in private contribution by Air Advantage. In addition to area residents, the initiative also will connect 23 schools and three intermediate school districts.
USDA Rural Development's mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As a venture capital entity, Rural Development provides equity, liquidity, and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA's web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/
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