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Ohio's Consolidated Electric Cooperative Wins $2.4 Million from U.S. Department of Agriculture

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Ohio Governor Ted Strickland today recognized Consolidated Electric Cooperative's (CEC) award of $2.4 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to construct a 166-mile broadband network in North Central Ohio. This award, a grant-loan combination, was made possible through assistance from Connect Ohio, the state's broadband initiative, and is a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's $7.2 billion broadband program. 
"I am grateful to Secretary Vilsack and President Obama for providing stimulus funds for broadband development," Strickland said. "These funds will allow Consolidated Electric Cooperative to play a key role in bridging the digital divide in the North Central Ohio area and support economic growth in the region." 
The Cooperative's project will allow underserved areas to access broadband connectivity and connect educational institutions and wireless Internet service provider facilities. This investment will offer nearly 5,000 homes in the area access to broadband service for the first time. Additionally, the funds will support CEC's Smart Grid technology initiative by connecting its 16 electric substations, applying cutting-edge green technology. 
Connect Ohio, a public-private partnership to increase broadband access throughout the state, assisted the project by providing data and guidance that was critical for developing the project application. 
The Recovery Act broadband initiatives help break the technology barrier by linking underserved communities, residences, businesses and other end users to the Internet. For more information about Ohio broadband initiatives and Connect Ohio, please visit http://www.connectohio.org/.
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