CFU to bring broadband internet to rural Cedar Falls - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

CFU to bring broadband internet to rural Cedar Falls

CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -- Cedar Falls Utilities (CFU) announced Wednesday it will extend high-speed internet service to the Utilities' rural electric customers north and west of the city.

Construction on the rural broadband system is planned for 2011-2012. CFU has provided broadband service within the city limits since 1996.

CFU's Electric Utility serves about 900 rural households and businesses over 90 square miles, extending north nearly to Janesville and west nearly to New Hartford. A 2009 survey confirmed widespread demand for CFU internet service among rural electric customers, who currently have limited options for internet service.

Improving rural internet access is a key initiative of the National Broadband Plan released by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) earlier this year. The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (AARA) set aside $7 billion of funding for rural broadband projects through the federal Departments of Commerce and Agriculture.

CFU will receive $873,000 from the USDA's Rural Utility Service to fund 50% of construction costs for the rural broadband system. Utility officials said building a rural system would not be feasible without the federal cost-share funds, because low population density makes for comparatively high construction costs per customer.

Online Producer: Jason Mortvedt

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