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MCCASKILL APPLAUDS RURAL BROADBAND GRANTS FOR MISSOURI

$38.5M will increase broadband access in Putnam, Clinton and Sullivan Counties

July 2, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Just a week after U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill held a forum in Troy, Missouri to discuss the need for expansion of broadband Internet in rural areas, today, she applauded new broadband funding coming to three Missouri communities. With these grant awards, Missouri will receive a total of $38.5 million in federal funding as part of the funds allocated for rural broadband development projects through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"After last week's forum, it is clear how important increasing broadband access is to Missouri's rural communities. Broadband Internet means jobs and economic development, as well as great improvements in healthcare, public safety, and education. This investment from the stimulus funds will help boost businesses and communities in rural Missouri," McCaskill said.

In a world where businesses are increasingly relying on the Internet to bring new levels of efficiency and creativity to their business models, some areas of the United States are falling behind due to unavailability of high-speed Internet. In 32 counties in Missouri, more than 50 percent of households do not have high-speed broadband (4 mbps broadband ability). For each percentage point increase in the availability of broadband Internet nationwide, the economy will see 300,000 new private sector jobs added.

The following areas of Missouri will be receiving funding:

Clinton County: Grand River Mutual Telephone Corporation will use $11 million for a Fiber-To-the-Home Broadband Deployment Project in Lathrop, Missouri and its surrounding rural areas. The broadband increase will serve 3,200 people and benefit 47 businesses and 12 community institutions.

Sullivan County: The Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Company will receive $7.2 million to construct a fiber-to-the-premise network to increase broadband availability for Green City, Missouri and surrounding areas. The network will serve 2,500 people and benefit 49 businesses and 20 community institutions.

Putnam County: Grand River Mutual Telephone Company will receive $20.3 million in federal grants and loans to provide broadband service to Powersville, Missouri, as well as Corydon, Millerton, Allerton and Lineville, Iowa. The increase in broadband access will benefit 339 businesses and 36 other community institutions, serving 5,200 people.

In addition to the economic benefits, rural broadband access allows schools and libraries to utilize technologies that aren't available with dial-up Internet, and helps with emergency response. Broadband also significantly helps improve health care services in areas with low populations by promoting telemedicine technology, which allows doctors to communicate with patients using video-conferencing tools.

McCaskill hosted a forum last week with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski, who is leading the federal government's broadband initiatives. Key local leaders from Missouri for whom broadband Internet is particularly important, including members of the education, emergency response and economic development communities, were also in attendance to discuss how the expansion of broadband can benefit their communities. All of Missouri's applicants for broadband money from the Recovery Act were also invited.

U.S. businesses, both large and small, depend on broadband services to run various facets of their businesses, including tracking inventory, monitoring consumer relations, and forecasting product sales. Studies show that communities in which broadband is widely available experience greater growth in employment, greater increases in the overall number of businesses, and a greater number of businesses in the information technology sectors.

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