STE Communications was recently chosen as a recipient of the USDA’s ReConnect Broadband Grant and Loan program and will be awarded a total of $29.794M. With this award, STE will continue to bring fiber broadband services to rural Missouri. STE will receive $14.897M in grant dollars, which do not need to be repaid, and $14.897M in loan funding. This is an incredible opportunity for STE to use available federal funding to continue to develop our fiber broadband network and meet their existing FCC build-out commitments.
USDA’s ReConnect program provides funding to rural communications companies, like STE, to expand broadband service to areas served with speeds less than 10/1 Mbps. These areas tend to represent the most rural and high cost places to reach. Through the ReConnect award and ACAM II support, STE is able to move forward with expansion into these underserved areas, providing residents throughout STE’s service area with access to some of the highest quality, Gigabit broadband services available anywhere, urban or rural.
“With Covid19 the importance of broadband has been recognized at the highest levels. Accessibility is critical to meet our needs for education, telemedicine, telecommuting and overall quality of life,” said Kevin Ancell, STE General Manager.
Construction expand the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network within their service area is scheduled to begin the first half of 2021 and will start in the communities where there will be the largest impact. Engineering plans for the project call for the installation of 150 miles of fiber per year for the next five years in the communities of Cherryville, Viburnum, Huzzah and Steelville, accelerating the current 10-year FTTH plan to half the time.
The Reconnect award marks the third grant that STE has received this year. By utilizing state and federal funding opportunities, STE continues to look for ways to provide the benefits of broadband service to all Missourians while keeping service prices fair and the company position solid.
About STE Communications
Founded in 1952 as Steelville Telephone Exchange, Inc., STE Communications provides world-class technology on a local level. With a rich history of more than 68 years of service to rural Missouri, STE Communications provides fast and reliable broadband to more than 4,100 customers in the neighboring communities of Viburnum, Cherryville, Cook Station, Cuba, Huzzah, and Steelville, with internet speeds ranging from 5 Mbps to 1 Gbps.