A local co-op has been awarded a broadband grant.
East Buchanan Telephone Cooperative has received a grant of more than $500,000 through the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grants Program.
East Buchanan Telephone Cooperative was organized in 1963 and serves the Iowa exchanges of Aurora-Stanley, Winthrop and Quasqueton with phone, internet and video services.
The grant will be used to deliver faster fiber optics for their cooperative members and those alongside the fiber deployment route. General Manager Mike Becker says the grant will assist in replacing an eight-mile route of fiber that was deployed in the late 1980’s before internet was adopted in their service area. Becker says this earlier type of fiber will not meet the specifications needed for today’s high bandwidth demands – noting that this route of fiber carries not only internet traffic, but voice traffic and 911 calls for first responders.
More than $210 million dollars in funding for new broadband infrastructure has been awarded to 160 applicants as part of this latest grant application cycle. Governor Reynolds says they received an overwhelming number of applications and funding requests.
Becker says they’re grateful East Buchanan Telephone Cooperative was one of the recipients. He says these grants are essential as the cost of deploying fiber has skyrocketed over 71-percent since just last year.
archived photo courtesy of Janelle Tucker/KMCH