Wabash Telephone Co-op to receive $21.8 million from the USDA for rural broadband expansion
Wabash Telephone Cooperative has been notified it will receive an Infrastructure Loan Award of approximately $21.8 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utility Service to expand rural broadband internet access. The cooperative was one of 18 recipients chosen to receive a low interest loan to provide broadband services to unserved and underserved rural communities.
Based in Louisville, Ill., Wabash Telephone Cooperative supports 4,512 access lines for a wide variety of video, internet and land line services. The cooperative's board decided to invest in fiber optic-based broadband in 2009 in order to stay current with the entertainment and information needs of its subscribers. The loan will help the cooperative keep its costs lower and may make it possible to speed up the process of connecting all of its customers to the fiber optic network. The expansion will give interested subscribers braodband access with much greater speeds. The cooperative plans to install 777 miles of fiber-optic cable,with a goal to complete the project within five to seven years.
“The real value of extra bandwidth is that it lets us do entirely new things with computers, cameras and televisions on our network. The growth of content, applications and various other products will place greater demands and the use of fiber will soon be a necessity,” says Jeff Williams, General Manager/Executive Vice President at Wabash. “Fiber is what’s going to let small-town residents have more say over what services they want, giving them choices of the latest services and technology. Fiber to the home is actually doing a lot to keep Wabash Telephone what it’s always been about. Wabash Telephone is strong and on the leading edge.”
Wabash Telephone Cooperative serves subscribers in portions of 8 counties including Clay, Edwards, Effingham, Jasper, Marion, Richland, Wabash and Wayne Counties. For more information visit www.wabashtelephone.coop