Sonora, CA — Mother Lode Internet (MLI) in conjunction with Rapid Link, Inc. has been awarded a $2.8 million grant to expand broadband service throughout the Mother Lode.
The grant is funded through the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) and is managed by the Public Utilities Commission. The $2.8 million will provide 40 percent of the cost for building wireless infrastructure to distribute high speed internet service to customers in areas that don’t have access to broadband.
According to MLI President Ben Hulet, “The internet no longer works on a modem. It is now critical to the economy and sustainability of our region to have broadband. It is essential to compete in this global economy and that is the purpose of this grant.”
To further enhance the project and to increase capability and capacity of the core network MLI plans to further leverage the grant as a matching fund to obtain additional Federal stimulus money. Hulet stated, “This is significant. It is analogous to when the government assisted in expanding power throughout the country.”
Mother Lode Broadband (MLB) is a collaborative project that will empower job and business growth throughout the region. It will not only employ people to build, distribute and support the service but will also support (rather than displace) local service providers with wholesale internet services. MLB is also designed to offer high capacity internet services to governmental, public safety, fire and educational clients throughout the Mother Lode.
Hulet adds that MLI will combine the $2.8 million grant with $9 million in Federal Stimulus funds. In addition Hulet is hopeful that MLI is in line for a $3 million grant from the state.
“That total package comes to approximately $15 million which will have a huge impact on the region.”