March 03, 2005

Idaho Towns To Benefit From Broadband Grants

Crapo says rural focus of awards opens doors for communities

Washington, DC â?? Three Idaho towns are among the communities benefiting from Rural Broadband Technology Grants just awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA announced today that it had selected the Coeur dâ??Alene Tribe in Plummer, First Step Internet in Bovill, and Communications Direct Internet in Paris as recipients of grants to enhance broadband services in their communities. â??Because these communities are remote, they stand to gain significantly from this funding, which will open doors to global information and services,â?? said Crapo. â??Many Idahoans prefer the pristine quality of life that characterizes these rural areas, but end up sacrificing access to advanced technology abundant in more urban areas. In particular, the inclusion of the Coeur dâ??Alene Tribe in this grant award shows a focused commitment on behalf of the Department of Agriculture to assisting the Native American community in Idaho. As added incentive, I recently co-sponsored an amendment which provides a one-year tax credit for broadband deployment to rural areas. This amendment passed as part of the Jobs and Growth package approved by the Senate last night.â??According to the USDA, the Coeur dâ??Alene Tribe will receive $2,783,581; First Step Internet will receive $184,835; and, Communications Direct Internet will receive $137,340 under this program. The USDAâ??s Community Connect Program of the Rural Utilities Service oversees this grant program. The Department of Agriculture created the program to enable rural communities to become actively involved in the global digital communications community through the use of high-speed telecommunications tools. Nationwide, there were $20 million in grants, $6.8 million of which were awarded to 10 Native American and Native Alaskan communities.# # #