Fiber to the Farm

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Feb 5, 2007, "Funding fiber to the farm", By Joan Engebretson, telephonyonline.com

Like finding well-situated season tickets to your favorite sports team, it can be daunting to get a telecom grant or loan from the Rural Utilities Service. But once the task is accomplished, the payback can be enormous.

Start-up communications service provider Air Advantage, for example, was able to use RUS grants and low-interest loans to expand its high-speed wireless network to serve a sparsely populated area of Michigan that had no high-speed connectivity.

“Our cost of expansion prior to the RUS loan was very expensive,” said Scott Zimmer, president of Air Advantage. “I’m not sure we would be in business today if we had continued on that track. In fact, I’m quite sure we wouldn’t be.”