STRATA Receives USDA ReConnect Funds to Provide Broadband to Rural Areas of the Uintah Basin

STRATA Networks announced that it has been selected to receive a loan-grant combination in the amount $23.6 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ReConnect program. The funds will be used to provide new and improved broadband infrastructure to more than 3,000 locations in the Uintah Basin.

“STRATA is very pleased to be selected as a ReConnect loan-grant recipient,” stated Bruce H. Todd, CEO/General Manager of STRATA Networks “These funds will help to further expedite our aggressive broadband build-out plans in the Uintah Basin. The specific locations that these funds will be used to serve are remote and pose significant financial barriers to delivering service. ;We look forward to completing these projects and improving broadband services to these rural customers.”

“Our core mission at USDA is to increase rural prosperity through boosting economic opportunity in rural America,” Secretary Perdue said. “We know that rural communities need robust, modern infrastructure to thrive, and that includes having access to broadband e-Connectivity. Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is proud to partner with rural communities to deploy this critical infrastructure, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

STRATA Networks will use the ReConnect loan-grant funds to deploy a fiber to the home (FTTH) broadband network capable of simultaneous transmission rates of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) or greater. The funded service areas include more than 3,000 households, farms and businesses, and critical community facilities spread over approximately 428 square miles. A map of the locations that will be benefitted by this program can be seen at stratanetworks.com/reconnect.

According to STRATA, the locations that are part of the ReConnect program are in addition to the areas that they already have plans to build fiber to in the coming years. The funding from USDA will be used solely to deliver fiber to the more rural areas of the Uintah Basin that are reflected on the webpage listed above, but the company will continue working towards its goal of delivering fiber to the home to an additional 1,000 locations each year outside of the ReConnect areas.

STRATA is ready to initiate construction as soon as a notice to proceed is granted by USDA. STRATA and USDA are in the process of finalizing and closing on the offer, after which detailed environmental work must be completed before any construction work can begin. The ReConnect program requires that STRATA complete the project in less than five years, and project schedules will be published as details are made available.

Background:

In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America. On Dec. 13, 2018, Secretary Perdue announced the rules of the program, called “Reconnect,” including how the loans and grants will be awarded to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America. USDA received 146 applications between May 31, 2019, and July 12, 2019, requesting $1.4 billion in funding across all three ReConnect Program funding products: 100 percent loan, 100 percent grant, and loan-grant combinations. USDA is reviewing applications and announcing approved projects on a rolling basis. Additional investments in all three categories will be made in the coming weeks.

These grants, loans and combination funds enable the federal government to partner with the private sector and rural communities to build modern broadband infrastructure in areas with insufficient internet service. Insufficient service is defined as connection speeds of less than 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

STRATA NETWORKS is the leading telecommunications provider in the Uintah Basin, providing advanced voice, broadband, television, and nationwide wireless services. The company is headquartered in Roosevelt, Utah with a coverage area extending in to a tri-state region, serving over 60,000 customers. STRATA celebrates over 60 years of technology expertise, exceptional customer relations, and a devout corporate social responsibility to its community. The company functions as a local cooperative, in which customers can also become member owners of the company who may receive patronage dividends and participate in company voting processes. More information is available at www.stratanetworks.com.

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