Survey Asks Montanans to Report Areas in Need of Broadband Internet, Federal Funds to be Spent in the Bitterroot and Missoula
After four years, Recovery and Reinvestment Act money from the first stimulus bill is still waiting to be spent in Montana.
This week the Public Service Commission (PSC) is asking for help in identifying areas in Montana that do not have broadband internet access.
District 4 PSC Commissioner Bob Lake said that schools and libraries are priorities for the service, but that they would like help in identifying more areas in need of the service.
Once areas have been identified, state telecommunication companies will use those federal dollars to create broadband access.
"They have between 12.5 and 20 million dollars," said Lake, commenting on a meeting with recent telecom companies. "They've been working on it for several years right now and they're just adding to it. They also told us and showed us the map of the areas that they have already targeted and are going to be expanding. A good part of the Bitterroot is going to be in that, as well as some pockets in Missoula that are just not served right now."
In just 48 hours, the PSC has already received nearly 200 completed surveys on the matter.