Omaha Public Radio News
3:33 pm
Thu September 22, 2011

The USDA will deliver broadband and job opportunities to rural communities

Omaha, NE – Rural Iowa communities will undergo a broadband expansion courtesy of the state's USDA Rural Development office.

Bill Menner is the State Director. He says rural communities need to have access to higher speed technology in order to be competitive on a global level. Lack of high internet speeds can hinder economic growth in a rural community.

Menner says improved access to high speed broadband also increases job opportunities, "if they don't have that connectivity, they're not going to thrive or survive. And they're not going to be in the position to create jobs. And I've already heard of instances where small businesses in rural communities that have access to high speed broadband are doing things they otherwise never could have and they are creating jobs."

Menner says the Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service has been funding broadband and telecommunications for decades. He says the Rural Utilities Service has invested $690 million in broadband expansion during for this fiscal year.

Additionally, another 3.5 billion in funding has been awarded for projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.