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Program Category # of Grants per state Sum of EDA $
Economic Adjustment Assistance 2 $380,596
Planning 20 $1,845,000
Public Works 1 $486,000
Technical Assistance 1 $146,000
Grand Total 24 $2,857,596
Montana InterBel Telephone Cooperative

Federal Communications Commission data from 2016 indicated that nationwide, 10 percent of Americans do not have access to broadband, with rural areas experiencing significantly greater challenges to access. This digital divide has a limiting effect on rural residents in terms of employment, K-12 and higher education learning opportunities, healthcare, and support for businesses to locate or grow in rural areas. In Montana this rural-urban divide is substantial. Ninety-two percent of Montanans who live in urban areas have access to high-speed Internet. But for rural Montanans only 59 percent have access.

In FY 2018, EDA awarded $486,000 in Public Works funds to InterBel Telephone Cooperative in Eureka, Montana, to help support the delivery of high-speed Internet services and the installation of fiber-optic cable to business customers located in Eureka. When completed, the project will help stabilize the region’s labor market through job creation and business expansion in information technology infrastructure. InterBel estimates that this investment will help create 62 jobs and leverage $150,000 in private investment.

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