Work may begin soon on broadband project

Staff Report

The move to bring broadband capability to the northern part of Iberville could begin within the next few weeks.

The USDA is set to sign off on the project, which would bring much-needed online capability to Grosse Tete, as well as Rosedale and Maringouin.

Grosse Tete Mayor Mike Chauffe

“As soon as they sign it, they’ll be ready to start construction,” Grosse Tete Mayor Mike Chauffe said. “We already have contractors ready to work they have contractors ready to start work, so once they sign it they can move forward.”

The project is part of a $15.5 million federally funded program that will create or improve rural e-connectivity for more than 2,600 households, pre-subscribed businesses and farms in Iberville Parish.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Re-Connect Pilot Program will implement a high-speed broadband infrastructure project that will create or improve rural e-connectivity for 2,609 rural households, 12 pre-subscribed businesses and 16 pre-subscribed farms.

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.

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.