Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Landrieu Announces $12.4 Million in Broadband Internet Funds for Northeast Louisiana Telephone Company

United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu [D-La.] today announced more than $12 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture funds for the Northeast Louisiana Telephone Company, based in Collinston, La. The funds made available from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act can be used to bring broadband services to rural unserved and underserved communities.

“The Recovery Act Broadband Infrastructure projects bring small businesses in rural parts of the country one step closer to being true competitors in the global economy,” said Landrieu, chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. “With the help of these funds, the Northeast Louisiana Telephone Company will be able to expand their coverage to more rural areas of Louisiana. The funding will also provide an economic boost to an area that has been recovering since the closure of International Paper last year.”

In a statement, Northeast Louisiana Telephone owners Rector Hopgood and Mike George wrote: “We are excited to be able to offer a new state-of-the-art communication system to the residents of Collinston, Bonita and Jones. With these funds, we will be covering our service territory with buried fiber optics.

“Our customers will have access to high-speed Internet, digital TV, as well as telephone service -- which will be a vast improvement over our current copper network. This is an exciting time for our customers and our company.”

The funds awarded to Northeast Louisiana Telephone include a $4,359,000 grant and a $8,124,600 loan to provide an active Ethernet system.

Sen. Landrieu has been a vocal supporter of expanding broadband services. To view more information on her broadband expansion efforts, please click here.

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* Recovery.gov: http://www.recovery.gov/
* USDA Rural Tour: http://bit.ly/RuralTour
* U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship: http://sbc.senate.gov/

SOURCES: U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, U.S. Department of Agriculture

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