Jo-Carroll Energy was awarded a $2.3 million Community Connect Grant by the USDA for a fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) internet project that will deliver high-speed, reliable broadband internet service to a rural area in Jo Daviess County.
The grant, announced Thursday, Dec. 16, will be used to bring access to fiber internet to more than 220 homes, businesses and community institutions in the Schapville and rural Scales Mound areas in Jo Daviess County.
“We are extremely pleased with the grant award from the USDA,” said Mike Casper, JCE president and CEO. “Expansion of fiber broadband in our rural areas is a much-needed development in our region. This grant will assist our efforts to provide high-speed, reliable internet service to our co-op members.”
Sand Prairie, JCE’s broadband division, will use the $2,347,300 in grant funds to construct 5.5 miles of aerial mainline fiber, 35.5 miles of underground mainline fiber and 37.5 miles of drop fiber to approximately 220 premises in under- or unserved areas.
Total proposed project expenditures are $2,812,148. Jo-Carroll Energy will fund a 15% grant match, or $464,848. Grant recipients have three years to spend funds. Engineering details are being finalized.
Sand Prairie identifies its project areas as numbered polygons or fiber neighborhoods. The grant area has been named CYN8. A map on the connectSP.com website details Sand Prairie’s fiber neighborhoods and is where members can express their interest in fiber and track progress.
All members within the grant area who had previously expressed interest in fiber will receive an email from Sand Prairie containing a customized link to sign up for service at their location. All other members within the CYN8 fiber neighborhood will be notified by other means or can go to connectsp.com and complete the Sign-Up step.
“The project supports economic development in our rural service area by increasing property values, attracting new residents and providing more residents the ability to work remotely, all factors that, in the long term, support community growth, boost our community’s tax base, enhance medical practices and support our schools,” said Jesse Shekleton, JCE director of broadband operations.
Sand Prairie offers fiber internet service packages with speeds from 25 megabits per second up to 2 gigabits per second to meet the growing needs of area residents, students and businesses.
The Community Connect award is the third grant funding the cooperative has received for its fiber to the premise projects.
“We continue to explore funding options to speed progress towards the goal of bringing fiber service to all members who want it,” Shekleton said.
JCE and Sand Prairie are applying for additional grant funds for qualifying rural areas in Jo Daviess, Carroll and Whiteside counties.
In addition to the grant area, Sand Prairie currently has several other projects throughout its service territory in the construction stages. Visit connectSP.com for more information.