WASHINGTON – United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today announced more than $12 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture funds for the Northeast Louisiana Telephone Company in Collinton, Louisiana. The funds made available from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act can be used to bring broadband services to rural un-served and underserved communities.

“The Recovery Act Broadband Infrastructure projects bring small businesses in rural parts of the country one step closer to being true competitors in the global economy,” said Senator Landrieu, Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. “With the help of these funds, the Northeast Louisiana Telephone Company will be able to expand their coverage to more rural areas of Louisiana. The funding will also provide an economic boost to an area that has been recovering since the closure of International Paper last year.”

“We are excited to be able to offer a new state-of-the-art communication system to the residents of Collinston, Bonita and Jones,” said Rector Hopgood & Mike George, owners of Northeast Louisiana Telephone Company. “With these funds we will be covering our service territory with buried fiber optics. Our customers will have access to high-speed internet, digital TV as well as telephone service, which will be a vast improvement over our current copper network. This is an exciting time for our customers and our company.”

The funds awarded to the Northeast Louisiana Telephone Company include a $4,359,000 and a $8,124,600 loan to provide an active Ethernet system.

Senator Landrieu has been a vocal supporter of expanding broadband services. To view more information on her broadband expansion efforts, please click here.