Broadband grant recipients include two in Chase County
Last Thursday, Governor Pete Ricketts announced the award of more than $29.5 million in funding under the Remote Access Rural Broadband Grant program, administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED).
Chase County is included in the list of recipients, the news release said.
Local recipients include Inventive Wireless of Nebraska, LLC dba Vistabeam in Chase County in the amount of $207,885 which could update 225 housing units.
NE Colorado Cellular, Inc. in Champion received a $639,794 grant, and has the potential of updating 50 housing units.
Great Plains Communications, which serves Imperial customers, received seven individual grants totalling $8,905,713. Those were awarded for work in the communities of Callaway, Creighton, Deshler, Gordon, North Bend, Red Cloud and Sutherland.
“These grants will lead to better broadband service in many areas of the state that are currently underserved,” said Gov. Ricketts.
“The enhanced service will equip more of our rural communities with the technology needed to conduct business online, make virtual health visits and engage in distance learning opportunities,” he continued.
The Broadband program was one of four grants designed and administered by DED this year to support the state’s economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
CARES Act guidelines require that the Nebraska Broadband Grant program assist Nebraskans directly impacted by COVID-19. Broadband providers must use this grant to provide service to an eligible community that meets the FCC broadband standard.
“COVID-19 has underscored the need for a more concentrated, collaborative effort to improve our state’s broadband infrastructure,” said DED Director Anthony L. Goins.
“This grant is an important first step toward ensuring all citizens of Nebraska have the opportunity to participate in the digital economy,” he said.
The grants target areas of the state where high speed internet service is either nonexistent or subpar based on the FCC standard of 25/3 Mbps download/upload speeds.
Most of the projects being awarded are scheduled for completion by the end of the year.