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Loans to fund rural broadband service

A local economic development group has been awarded nearly $190,000 in grant money to provide badly needed broadband Internet access to rural communities in the area.

The money was awarded to the Sierra Economic Development District by the USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant program. It will be loaned to local Internet providers to aid in extending services to remote residences and businesses.

“We had several inquiries from local businesses in Downieville, Nevada City and Colfax who were interested in providing Internet to people who were located in remote areas and could not get dial-up or broadband,” said Pat Landon, a business consultant for the Sierra Economic Development District. “It (the loan) will help those in rural areas have high-speed Internet.



“People will be able to telecommute and operate small home businesses,” he said. “We know there is a high demand for this kind of service.”

For many telecommuters and small businesses, dial-up is simply “unacceptable,” he said.




“SEDD is trying to improve the local economics throughout the area,” Lynele Juchau, owner of ColfaxNet.com, said. “They’re looking for businesses they can help that will also help to improve the economy.”

The district is offering two different loan options for small business interested in the opportunity. One loan totals $37,000 while the other is for $150,000.

“They’re both still up for grabs,” Landon said.

“I’m obviously interested in the loan program,” said Adam Brodel, owner of SmarterBroadband in Nevada City. “We would like to increase our coverage more into Penn Valley, Rough and Ready, the North Bloomfield area and Tyler Foot Road.”

Juchau added, “It would allow us to provide more service to more people and therefore create more jobs.”

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To contact Staff Writer Lindsey Croft, e-mail lcroft@theunion.com or call 477-4247.


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