Applications are being accepted by the federal government for a one-year pilot program that will provide low-interest loans to telecommunications carriers wanting to deliver broadband access outside the metropolitan area to communities of 20,000 people or less.
Broadband service is necessary for some Web applications that are important for rural communities such as distance education. Carriers have avoided thinly populated areas as building broadband infrastructure is expensive and carriers use customer density to help offset costs.
Loans will be offered with an average interest rate that is about 2% lower than the best deal from the private sector. Interest in the program is reported to be high and if it is successful the program may become permanent.
The program is a similar one to the one the government took on to promote rural electrification development. It is hoped that the availability of Internet connections in rural areas will attract businesses to these areas.
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