Thursday, May 22, 2014

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USDA Announces Funding for Advanced Communications Technology in Rural Areas
WASHINGTON – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is accepting applications for grants to enhance telecommunications and broadcast services in rural areas.
"This funding will help small, rural communities across the country gain access to communications technologies to improve health, education and other services," Vilsack said. "It will help open doors to the global marketplace. It will deliver specialized medical care and educational services. It will ensure that public television stations can fully convert to digital signals and transmit public safety, health, educational and cultural programming in isolated areas."
The funding is available from the Community Connect Grant Program, the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program, and the Public Television Station Digital Transition Grant Program.
Through the Community Connect Grant Program, USDA plans to provide up to $13 million to fund broadband in unserved areas to support economic growth and deliver enhanced educational, health care and public safety services. Awardees must serve an area where broadband does not exist, provide a community center with broadband access, and offer broadband service to all residential and business customers. Details are on page 29405 of today's Federal Register.

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