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$3.7M from State Brings Broadband to Polk County, Neb.

A grant of nearly $3.8 million from the Nebraska Capital Projects Fund will deliver fiber optics to a 70-square-mile area around Stromsburg and southwest Osceola. It includes 176 homes deemed “unserved” by fiber.

Rural broadband
(TNS) — Thanks to a $3.7 million grant from the Nebraska Public Service Commission's Nebraska Capital Projects Fund, parts of Polk County in the area around Stromsburg will soon see a major upgrade to Internet services.

In a June 10 press release, Northeast Nebraska Telephone Company based in Jackson, Nebraska announced that it had been awarded a $3,777,885 grant from the Capital Projects Fund, which was put in place to expand broadband access in the state, particularly the hard-to-reach areas, NNTC manager and CEO Pat McElroy said in the release.

"We are thrilled to contribute to ensuring that every Nebraskan, whether in urban or rural areas, has access to excellent internet service," McElroy said. "America's communication networks are stronger when all people have equal access to these essential services. Without grants like this, many rural areas would continue to lag behind metropolitan regions."

The project is planned to bring a fiber optic network to a 70-square-mile area around Stromsburg and Southwest Osceola, giving 176 homes deemed "unserved" by the NCSP a fiber internet connection.

The project includes a deadline of the end of 2025, so NNTC will contact those eligible in coming months to talk about free installation. Those who get the connection will have access to upload and download speeds of at least 100 Mbps. One rural connection hub for the Polk County Rural Public Power District (PCRPPD) will have a better connection as a result of this, which PCRPPD General Manager Barb Fowler said will help the district.

"High speed, reliable communication is critical for successful operation of our electric system. We rely heavily on data communication from field equipment to monitor the system health and loading as well as reporting customer usage and outage information," Fowler said in an interview with the Telegram.

Aside from helping the district do its work, the fiber optic connection will bring a lot to the affected area's residents in general, Fowler said.

"Broadband has become a daily necessity, just like electricity," she said. "The quality of life in rural Nebraska depends on the ability to connect for online education, remote employment and successful operation of agricultural and livestock operations."

NNTC is one of 28 recipients of the $30.9 million granted in this year's cycle, from 60 applicants, alongside areas around York, Mead and Hastings, among many others.

(c)2024 the Columbus Telegram (Columbus, Neb.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.