Written by Region 8 Newsdesk
Published by Region 8
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) – Arkansas Electric Co-op Corporations received a $75 million loan through the Electric Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program.
According to a press release, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided the loan.
The money will be used to finance the installation of 2,073 miles of fiber optic cable to provide a backbone communications network for Smart Grid purposes, including improving reliability and grid communication.
The loan term is expected to last 23 years.
Members of Arkansas’ Congressional Delegation, including U.S. Senators Tom Cotton and John Boozman, U.S. Representatives Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack, and Bruce Westerman, released a joint statement praising the loan.
“Rural broadband connectivity has always been an issue in Arkansas. As digital communications become more important to daily life, every Arkansan should at least have the option to connect to fast, reliable internet. These funds will be instrumental to aiding electric companies in improving their broadband infrastructure, and we thank USDA Secretary Perdue for his continued support of rural America,” members said.