WASHINGTON – United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today announced that two Louisiana businesses and the State Library of Louisiana will receive funds totaling more than $49 million to expand broadband internet service throughout rural areas of Louisiana.
“Through funds created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we are now able to expand broadband internet service to some of the most under-served and unserved areas of Louisiana,” Senator Landrieu said. “Each of these organizations will use these funds to reach out to their surrounding parishes to increase high speed internet accessibility. The construction jobs to expand these services, coupled with the increased accessibility of high speed internet access, will create good paying jobs for these communities and allow rural small businesses the opportunities to compete with existing businesses in more developed areas of the country.”
Cameron Communications, the parent company for LBH, LLC, received a $16,639,439 loan and a $16,691,939 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Broadband Infrastructure projects. Locally owned and operated by its founding family, Cameron Communications provides an array of state-of-the-art telecommunications and entertainment services to homes and businesses in rural Southwest and Central Louisiana and Southeast Texas. Their funding will allow the company to expand broadband service into rural areas of Louisiana - including Moss Bluff, Oakdale, and Vinton.
“We are excited to be awarded American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funds for construction of a state of the art fiber network capable of bringing advanced broadband services to the communities of Moss Bluff, Oakdale and Vinton, Louisiana,” said George Mack, President of Cameron Communications and LBH, LLC. “This project will be a big boost to the economy as well as an enhancement to the quality of life in these areas. We are most thankful to Senator Landrieu for her support of our broadband application.”
Allen’s Cable, which provides cable television services and high speed internet services in Southwest Louisiana, will receive a $3,584,680 loan and a $3,513,697 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to extend broadband networks into three South Louisiana Parishes - St. Landry, St. Martin, and Acadia.
Finally, the State Library of Louisiana has been awarded $8,797,668 for the “Louisiana Libraries Connecting People to their Potential” project from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. With these funds, the State Library of Louisiana can deploy 704 mobile laptops and 64 assistive technology workstations to the 327 public libraries in all 64 parishes in Louisiana. The State Library will also provide 2,700 training sessions for citizens and public library staff. The project will also allow for the establishment of wireless hotspots and increased broadband speed at each of the locations.
“Public libraries serve as a critical access point to information. Today, access to technology is non negotiable; it is a necessity for our citizens to participate in the world,” said Rebecca Hamilton, State Librarian and Assistant Secretary for the Department of Culture Recreation and Tourism. As government moves to electronic information only, the 57% of our citizens who do not have Internet access and who seek information especially in the areas of health, social services, education and career development will come to public libraries for assistance. Through the Louisiana Libraries Connecting People to Their Potential project, the State Library of Louisiana will partner with Louisiana’s 327 public libraries to provide computer access and training for citizens and support for public library staff. We will work towards our mutual goal of bridging the gap that keeps some of our citizens from the access to information they need to be productive members of society. At the State Library we believe that we exist for the people. We always strive to offer services that touch every citizen and really change people’s lives regardless of their means. This project will do just that.”
Senator Landrieu has been a vocal supporter of expanding broadband services. To view more information on her broadband expansion efforts, please click here.