Grant expected to create 62 jobs, $150,000 in private investment
U.S. SENATE — Senator Steve Daines today announced a nearly $500,000 investment to boost high-speed Internet accessibility in Eureka, Montana.
“Improved high-speed Internet connectivity will greatly benefit Eureka by growing existing businesses, creating new economic opportunities and supporting new, good-paying jobs,” Daines stated. “This investment will allow InterBel Telephone Cooperative to continue their mission of supporting Lincoln County’s communications needs and will help expand the economic diversity of the region.”
With Daines’ support, the U.S. Department of Commerce awarded InterBel Telephone Cooperative (ITC) an Economic Development Association (EDA) grant to improve information technology infrastructure in Eureka. ITC plans to install fiber-optic cable to deliver high-speed Internet service within Eureka’s business corridor, a project that is expected to help create more than 60 jobs.
ITC has provided reliable telephone services to Lincoln County since 1982 and expects to provide fiber connectivity to properties outside the Highway 93 corridor by the end of the year. The EDA investment of $486,000, in addition to an anticipated $150,000 in private investments, will help ensure this expansion reaches the Eureka business corridor.
On February 6, 2018, Daines introduced the bipartisan Streamlining and Investing in Broadband Infrastructure Act, which would help remove the government red-tape preventing rural Montanans from accessing the high-speed Internet necessary to compete in today’s digital economy.
On January 25, 2018, Daines introduced legislation to promote precision agriculture and rural broadband deployment. The Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act of 2018, S. 2343, would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a task force to identify gaps in high-speed Internet connectivity for the nation’s cropland and ranchland.
On October 23, 2017, Daines wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in support of InterBel Telephone Cooperative’s application for the FY2017 Economic Development Assistance Program to build optic lines within the business corridor of Eureka, Montana.
On October 9, 2017, Daines hosted the Montana High Tech Jobs Summit.
On February 2, 2017, Daines and United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue discussed increasing access to rural broadband.
On July 11, 2016, Daines was joined by 27 Senators in a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler calling for the agency to prioritize new mobile broadband deployment in areas that support agricultural activity as well as preserve and upgrade mobile broadband where it is currently available.
On March 3, 2016, during Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearings, Daines emphasized the need for reliable broadband service throughout rural America and successfully moved forward bipartisan solutions to ensure that rural communities are not left behind.