Colorado Economic Recovery and Accountability

Press Release - Wiggins Telephone Awarded $4.3M

OFFICE OF GOV. BILL RITTER, JR.
WWW.COLORADO.GOV/GOVERNOR 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THURSDAY, MARCH 4, 2010

 

CONTACT:

Myung Oak Kim, 303-947-5708, Myung.kim@state.co.us

GOV. RITTER CONGRATULATES WIGGINS TELEPHONE ASSOCIATION FOR WINNING $4.3 MILLION IN RECOVERY ACT BROADBAND FUNDS

Gov. Bill Ritter today applauded Wiggins Telephone Association in Morgan County for being awarded a grant and loan totaling $4.3 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to expand broadband access in the county. The project will provide high-speed Internet access for the first time to hundreds of homes in the Weldon Valley, which includes the towns of Weldona, Goodrich and Orchard in northeastern Colorado.


“The Recovery Act is funding critical infrastructure projects that will provide lasting benefits to our largest cities and our smallest rural towns,” Gov. Ritter said. “This latest award will bridge the technology divide in the classroom, home and the office for Coloradans in Morgan County.”


Wiggins Telephone Association is a telephone cooperative that was formed in 1951 in the town of Wiggins to provide phone service for the surrounding area. The company has about 1,600 customers across 2,000 square miles in northeastern Colorado. The company was awarded a $2,168,544 loan and a $2,159,887 grant that will pay for a FTTP (Fiber to the premise) project that will install optical fiber cables directly to homes and businesses in the Weldon Valley. The project will benefit hundreds of homes and businesses that currently only have access to dial-up or satellite Internet.

 

Terry Hendrickson, general manager and CEO of Wiggins Telephone Association, said the grant and loan allows his company to complete this project much sooner than they expected and at a lower cost. The project will help schools, farms and people with home offices by giving them quicker access to research and up-to-date information and communication.

 

“We’re excited to be able to provide broadband services to the Weldon Valley area,” Hendrickson said, adding that most of the customers in the Weldon Valley should have access to broadband by the end of 2011.

 

The Morgan County project is among 22 broadband infrastructure projects in 18 states that will provide service to unserved or underserved rural communities. These projects will also receive an additional $13.1 million in matching funds from private entities. The USDA has awarded $895.6 million for rural broadband projects in 29 states and territories and has a total of $2.5 billion in Recovery Act funds to distribute for this program with more awards to be announced in the coming weeks.

 

This is the second Colorado broadband infrastructure project awarded with Recovery Act funds. The Peetz Telephone Cooperative in northeast Colorado was awarded $1.5 million to provide high-speed Internet to the community for the first time.

 

At least $6.7 billion in Recovery Act funds is expected to come to Colorado through more than 100 different programs. For more information about the Recovery Act in Colorado, visit www.colorado.gov/recovery.