Senators ask FCC to reform rural broadband investment rules

A group of 26 U.S. Senators, including both from Montana, have signed on to a letter to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission asking him to reform the way that Universal Service Fund support is distributed. The USF provides support to telecommunications companies to build broadband and other networks in hard-to-reach areas, such as… Continue reading Senators ask FCC to reform rural broadband investment rules

Missoula studying broadband options for businesses

Catching up on some late news: [The Missoulian reports](http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/missoula-council-oks-k-for-extreme-broadband-internet-study/article_b93a3b1e-c1c6-11e2-89c2-0019bb2963f4.html) that Missoula’s city council is spending about $13,000 on a study to find options to improve broadband speed and accessibility for the city’s businesses. The money will be paired with money from Missoula County commissioners to nab a matching federal grant, which comes from Title I… Continue reading Missoula studying broadband options for businesses

Eureka telco awarded $20M USDA broadband loan

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… Continue reading Eureka telco awarded $20M USDA broadband loan

CenturyLink gets money for rural broadband and other news

Internet provider CenturyLink is in the news today for good or ill. The Associated Press and other outlets [report](http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505250_162-57481222/centurylink-gets-$1.9m-for-mont-rural-broadband/) that the company will receive $1.9 million from the FCC to provide broadband to rural areas of Montana. THE FCC says the money will provide access to 6,300 residents who currently don’t have broadband. Roughly 55… Continue reading CenturyLink gets money for rural broadband and other news

Montana Opticom proposes fiber-optic line from Belgrade to Big Sky

Montana Opticom, the ISP that in 2010 received $64 million in federal stimulus money to lay fiber-optic cable for broadband in the western portion of Gallatin County, recently applied for permission to bury some of that cable on forest service land.

The Web goes mobile and parks itself in Bozeman

Where I come from, WoW stands for World of Warcraft, but apparently the good people of Missoula County now say it stands for Web on Wheels, a bus loaded up with Web-linked computers that travels the rural parts of the county. The bus, a new branch of the Missoula Public Library, will be in Bozeman… Continue reading The Web goes mobile and parks itself in Bozeman

Ennis and Big Sky to see better Internet service from $70M broadband loan

A $70 million federal loan to expand rural broadband in northern Montana will also improve Internet service for people in Big Sky and Ennis, an official with 3 Rivers Telephone Cooperative said Thursday. The USDA Rural Utilities Service announced yesterday that the Fairfield-based cooperative will receive a $70 million loan to install 1,700 miles of… Continue reading Ennis and Big Sky to see better Internet service from $70M broadband loan

Take reports of Montana’s terrible broadband speeds with a grain of salt

Some news outlets have reported this week that Montana’s Internet access speeds are the worst in the country and that this could leave our rural areas “economically crippled.” While I do not dispute the fact that we have some slow Internet access statewide, I would like to remind everyone to take such pronouncements with all… Continue reading Take reports of Montana’s terrible broadband speeds with a grain of salt