BATON ROUGE – Louisiana state government’s Office of Information Technology, a part of the Division of Administration, announced today that the Northeast Louisiana Telephone Co. has been awarded more than $12.4 million in federal funds to improve broadband access in rural Morehouse Parish.
The funds were awarded under the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service, and consist of a grant of $4.36 million and a loan of $8.12 million.
The funds will be used by Northeast Louisiana Telephone to support a fiber-to-the-home system (FTTH) to serve the communities of Bonita and Collinston in Morehouse Parish. FTTH is one of the most efficient methods of delivering high speed network access directly to a subscriber's premises and is flexible for use in providing Internet Access, Digital Telephone Service, and Digital Television Service over a common network.
"This grant will provide Northeast Louisiana Telephone Company with the financial resources to invest in state-of-the-art technology to bring affordable high speed broadband service to customers in rural Morehouse Parish,” said Commissioner of Administration Angele Davis. “Broadband service will provide the citizens of Morehouse Parish with a valuable tool to access resources for education, healthcare, and economic development."
The Division’s Office of Information Technology led the effort on behalf of the Commissioner and Governor Jindal for a multi-department team to evaluate and rank all BIP grant applications for projects with service areas within Louisiana. The resulting rankings were provided to U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications Information Administration as input into their internal grant evaluation process.
The OIT-led evaluation team gave the Northeast Louisiana Telephone Co. grant application the highest ranking in the “last mile non-remote” grant category. The rankings are published on the OIT website at http://www.doa.louisiana.gov/oit/docs/NTIA_Louisiana_Broadband_Ranking_Publication.xlsx