Stimulus dollars to pay for broadband expansion on Crow Reservation

Project Telephone Co., the telephone co-op that provided service to my childhood home (and still does), and the Montana State Library will get $21 million in stimulus money to expand broadband Internet service to the Crow Indian Reservation and 42 public libraries, the Missoulian reports.

Project Telephone will expand high-speed Internet service at its Lodge Grass and Crow Agency exchanges. This will affect about 4,000 people, the Missoulian said.

The details of the funding:

  • Project Telephone Company; Scott St. Pryor Middle Mile
    Funding to provide a fiber-optic network to connect Crow Reservation communities with existing networks in Billings. 
    • $962,672 loan
    • $2,888,015 grant
    • $79,500 private investment
  • Project Telephone Company; Crow Agency/Lodgegrass Fiber-to-the-Premise
    A “last-mile” project to provide fiber-to-the-premises to all locations within the Crow Reservation exchanges at Crow Agency and Lodge Grass.
    • $3,887,370 loan
    • $165,000 of private investment
    • $11,662,109 grant

The funding is part of a $795 million rural broadband package announced today by President Obama. The funding will help expand broadband in 66 rural areas that now have little or no access to high-speed Internet, USA Today reported.

The full list of funding recipients is available via the Washington Post as PDF.

However, yesterday, Rep. David Obey, the chairman of the House appropriations committee, proposed cutting $602 million in broadband stimulus funding to help pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.