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Nearly $30 million in federal grants to help expand broadband in Nebraska
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Nearly $30 million in federal grants to help expand broadband in Nebraska

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Fiber-optic wiring

The Department of Economic Development gave nearly $30 million in grants to telecommunication companies to provide broadband service to more than 17,000 rural homes.

Several Southeast Nebraska communities will get faster broadband internet service thanks to nearly $30 million in federal grants.

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development announced Thursday that more than $29.5 million in funding under the Remote Access Rural Broadband Grant program will go to telecommunications providers across the state.

The money came from the $1.08 billion of Coronavirus Relief funds allocated to the state so far.

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“COVID-19 has underscored the need for a more concentrated, collaborative effort to improve our state’s broadband infrastructure,” Economic Development Director Anthony L. Goins said in a news release. “This grant is an important first step toward ensuring all citizens of Nebraska have the opportunity to participate in the digital economy.”

Among the more than 17,000 homes that will gain high-speed broadband thanks to the grant are more than 1,300 in Southeast Nebraska.

Lincoln-based Bluestem Network is receiving nearly $659,000 to provide service to 223 people around Pleasant Dale.

Diode Communications is receiving nearly $1 million to provide service to 116 customers in rural areas around Beatrice and 31 in the Gage County village of Holmesville.

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Windstream Corp. is receiving nearly $4 million to provide broadband to more than 1,000 customers living in rural areas around Ashland, Louisville, Hebron, Geneva and Garrison.

Windstream said in a news release that it also is working on broadband internet projects in rural areas near Bellwood, Osceola and Shelby that will be paid for with grants from the state's Universal Service Fund. Those projects are still waiting approval from the state Public Service Commission.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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