to help Ferdinand get broadband Internet
The City of Ferdinand was awarded a USDA Rural Development Community Connect Grant Tuesday, Oct. 14, which will help provide broadband Internet service to the community.
The $213,053 grant was actually awarded to First Step Internet, LLC, which will use the grant money to set up wireless Internet service for Ferdinand, provide computer stations at the community center which would be available to the public free of charge for 2 years and also provide free Internet service to City Hall for two years.
Mike Hall of First Step Internet said the main access point for Ferdinand will be on top of the grain elevators with another, smaller tower near the edge of town. The main microwave transmission will come from Tekin Butte to Cottonwood Butte and then to the access points in Ferdinand. Once work is completed most of Ferdinand would become a wi-fi hotspot.
$4,000 of the grant would also be used for continuing education classes in conjunction with Lewis-Clark State College through their online classes.
The grant would also fund paying a part-time person to staff the computer center, which would be set up on the stage in the Ferdinand Gym. There would also be some public access computers set up in Ferdinand City Hall.
Hall said they used a study done in 2003 by Clearwater Economic Development Association (CEDA) on Telecommunication needs in our rural areas to obtain the grant. Hall said they have done these kinds of installations in Deary, Bovill and Potlatch and they’re finding people doing telecommuting. That is enjoying the small town, rural atmosphere while being able to work for companies like big city companies over the Internet.
Howard Lunderstadt of USDA Rural Development office in Lewiston presented the check. Also present for the presentation was Tony Snodderly of Congressman Bill Sali’s office.
Snodderly said the Congressman Sali appreciates the efforts of the Ferdinand community leaders and feels that not just businesses benefit from broadband Internet but that people will be able to share those photos of children and grandchildren much easier and faster.