INHOFE ANNOUNCES OVER $10.4 MILLION TO INCREASE BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS

Washington, DC - Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla) announced today that the United States Department of Agriculture has approved $10,464,000 in low interest rate loans over the next 7-14 years to make broadband internet access more available to rural Oklahomans. These loans will be used to bring farmers, rural residents and businesses greater access to improved telecommunication technology, and are part of a major initiative by President Bush to provide universal broadband access by 2007. "Rural America is currently lagging far behind urban areas in broadband internet access availability," Inhofe said. “Oklahoma's rural communities and business are important to our state and ensuring their opportunities for growth is a high priority. The President has recognized this technological-gap and is working to ensure that rural Oklahoman's are not left behind." The Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Broadband Loan Program will provide loan funding as follows:
  • Pioneer Long Distance Inc. of Kingfisher, Oklahoma with $5,331,000 million to deploy 21 new sites using unlicensed wireless spectrum; and to provide wirelesses broadband access to 3,786 residential and business subscribers in 8 Oklahoma communities; Alva, Cherokee, Elk City, Fairview, Medford, Weatherford, and Woodward.
  • Central Cellular Inc. of Davenport, Oklahoma with $5,133,000 million to connect 758 new access lines for voice services, provide 379 new subscribers with high speed internet access, and provide 456 subscribers with video services. They will also be able to purchase network and access equipment, install buried fiber optic facilities and copper distribution plant, purchase customer premise equipment and make other system improvements.
  • The rural broadband access program provides loans and loan guarantees for the construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities and equipment for broadband service in eligible rural communities. Priority is given to applications that are proposing to serve areas where no residential broadband service currently exists. Funds for this program were authorized through the 2002 Farm Bill. To date, over $206 million in broadband loans have been approved in this program. For more information on the Rural Development Broadband Loan Program visit: www.rurdev.usda.gov