The USDA [announced Wednesday](http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2013/05/0085.xml&contentidonly=true) that a $20.8 million loan to a Montana telecommunications company to help improve rural broadband service.
InterBel Telephone Cooperative in Eureka, Mont., will use the money to complete a fiber-to-the-premises network and meet future growth demands. The company celebrated its 50th anniversary April 13.
In a written statement, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said the loan provides necessary telecommunications services to help rural economies.
“Broadband offers rural communities greater access to educational, health care, business and social services and opens the door to increased global competition,” he said. “As part of the Obama Administration’s goal to improve infrastructure, we continue to fund projects that expand broadband service in rural areas.”
Also announced Wednesday was a $5.2 million loan for Hartington Telecommunications Co. of Nebraska for a fiber project.