Jo-Carroll Energy receives broadband grant

Jo-Carroll Energy receives broadband grant
JCE President/CEO Mike Casper, at podium, discusses the importance of broadband in rural America. Also in attendance, far left, Bette Brand, USDA deputy under secretary for rural development and Douglas Wilson, USDA rural development Illinois state director.

A $14 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will accelerate buildout of high-speed fiber internet to rural areas by Jo-Carroll Energy’s (JCE) broadband division, Sand Prairie.

The grant is part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect program. Jo-Carroll and Sand Prairie will use the grant to bring high-speed fiber broadband access to approximately 250 square miles in portions of Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Carroll and Whiteside counties.

Asked what the grant means to members, JCE President and CEO Mike Casper said, “Two simple words, the future. Successful growth in rural America and economic development depends on a robust infrastructure, fiber being an essential component.

“With rural high-speed broadband, our farming community can, more broadly, utilize advanced technologies to improve efficiencies,” Casper continued. “Our commercial and industrial members will be on a level playing field with their urban and global competitors. More of our members can successfully work, improve their education and receive medical care from home while enjoying the beauty and safety of rural America.”