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Nebraska, Maine expand broadband networks

Tue, 08/23/2011 - 8:00am
The Associated Press

HEMINGFORD, Neb. (AP) — A Western Nebraska firm is getting a $10.3 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand broadband Internet service in the Panhandle.

The USDA announced the loan to the Hemingford Cooperative Telephone Co. on Monday.

Hemingford's broadband project in northwest Nebraska was one of five nationwide to receive loans this week.

The infrastructure loans are part of the USDA's Rural Development program.

Separately, the ConnectME Authority says it has awarded 23 grants to expand broadband communications services to unserved pockets across Maine.

The authority was created to expand broadband access in the most rural areas of the state. The latest grants totaling $1.6 million will be used for projects totaling nearly $2.4 million that will expand services to an estimated 2,300 households and businesses.

Jean Wilson, the authority's chairwoman, says the latest round brings the total to 76 grants, potentially serving more than 33,000 households and businesses with grant awards of $6 million, and total project costs of $12 million.

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