Parish breaks ground on high-speed internet

Staff Report
A groundbreaking ceremony March 10 in Grosse Tete marked the start of installation on fiberoptic line through the village, as well as Rosedale, Ramah and Bayou Blue. Pictured in the ceremony are Grosse Tete Mayor Mike Chauffe, along with council members Marcus Hill, Jeanne David and Clint Seneca. Also pictured are George Buchan of V1 Fiber and Bryan Fisher of STAR Communications. The project is part of a USDA-funded program partnership with STAR Communications

The northern portion of Iberville Parish moved one step closer last week to the high-tech digital age.

A groundbreaking ceremony March 10 paved the way for the installation of underground lines for fiberoptic cable, which will bring high-speed internet services to residents throughout the area.

The lines for the 100-megabyte fiberoptic internet will provide service for Grosse Tete, Rosedale, Ramah and Bayou Blue.

The project is part of a USDA-funded program partnership with STAR Communications.

The $15.5 million program will create or improve rural e-connectivity for more than 2,600 households, pre-subscribed businesses and farms in Iberville Parish.

The program – one of the many funding announcements in the final round of USDA’s Re-Connect Pilot Program investments – also will benefit Iberville and St. Landry parishes. It is the program’s first venture in Louisiana.

The program began in 2018 when Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America.

The project will significantly boost high-speed internet capability for rural areas where many homes and businesses do not have service.

“It means residents won’t have to park in a library or sit in a McDonald’s parking lot late at night to get online,” Grosse Tete Mayor Mike Chauffe said. “This will bring the north end of the parish into the Digital Age.”

STAR will run lines to adjacent homes as they lay the main lines along the right-of-way, he said.

The Re-Connect Program will offer federal financing and funding options in the form of loans, grants and loan/grant combinations to facilitate broadband deployment in areas of rural America that do not have sufficient access to broadband.

The program will generate private sector investment to deploy broadband infrastructure to provide high-speed Internet e-connectivity to as many rural premises as possible, including homes, community facilities for health care and public safety, schools, libraries, farms, ranches, factories and other production sites.