Falls City Journal reports on USDA Award for SNC

SNC awarded $11.3 million

(from the Falls City Journal)

Southeast Nebraska Communications has received notification from the U.S. Department of Agriculture approving funding assistance for an exciting new project to extend Fiber to the Home (FTTH) technology to over 1,200 rural households and businesses.

Last spring, SNC completed an extensive application process seeking assistance with the project, competing for available funds with companies all across the country seeking to expand and enhance rural broadband technology.

SNC President Dorothy Towle noted, “It’s important to understand these are funds that were made available through a very competitive process to interested companies across the U.S. with qualifying projects, and if the award hadn’t been made to our region, it would have gone to some other community. We are thrilled to have secured this investment for southeast Nebraska, the only project approved in the state of Nebraska this funding round.”

According to Beth Sickel, Vice President and General Manager, “This $11.3 million USDA award, a combination loan and grant, will help provide investment to extend FTTH technology to residents in the villages of Salem, Shubert, Stella, Rulo, Verdon, Barada and Preston, along with ALL of the surrounding rural areas.” SNC is currently in the process of installing FTTH technology to all homes and businesses in Falls City, where upon completion, it will be the largest community in Nebraska to be completely upgraded using this state-of-the-art fiber optic network. Once FTTH technology is extended to rural villages and areas, SNC’s service territory will be 100% fiber optic.

Although all subscribers in SNC’s serving territory currently have access to high speed broadband internet via SNC’s existing copper-based network, this particular technology limits the average customer speeds and is distance sensitive, with most rural subscribers having access to less speed than those closer to town.

Ray Joy, SNC Operations Manager, explained: “Fiber optic lines are hair-thin strands of glass than can carry massive amounts of digital information, called bandwidth, over long distances without degradation. Arranged in bundles or cables, they use light instead of electricity to transmit signals.”

Sickel also said that “SNC’s progressive vision for the future of providing all households and businesses in its service territory with FTTH technology will help toward stabilizing shrinking population and providing economic growth through innovation, collaboration, and professional development. Now that vision will be a reality!”

The addition of FTTH, considered a “future-proof” solution with virtually unlimited broadwidth capacity, to the most rural areas of southeast Nebraska can enable the area to compete and provide jobs not typically association with smaller rural communities.

Bringing FTTH broadband access to rural areas also strengthens businesses, schools, hospitals and law enforcement. As with the current Falls City FTTH project, rural customers will see no rate increases as a result of this project.

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