FCC gives broadband money

The Federal Communications Commission is investing about $8 million to expand broadband Internet access in rural Louisiana areas in 25 parishes.

About $2.16 million is going to Baton Rouge metro area parishes, more than $3 million is heading to the north shore for Tangipahoa and Washington parishes, roughly $1 million is directed toward Plaquemines Parish and nearly $800,000 is intended for southwestern Louisiana.

The dollars are going to AT&T and CenturyLink for infrastructure growth through the FCC’s Connect America Fund. Last year, in the first phase of the program, about $3.35 million went to broadband growth along the Interstate 49 stretch in central Louisiana.

The fund is part of the FCC’s initiative to bring broadband access to rural communities. Overall, 41 states have received $255 million in funding as part of the program’s newest phase.

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., was quick to praise the dollars going to Louisiana.

“These funds will upgrade the digital infrastructure in rural communities, provide our small businesses the tools they need to sell their goods and services along main streets across the country and globe and further improve quality of life for residents,” Landrieu said in the announcement. “I will continue my work and partnership with these companies and other providers to help rural communities … bridge the technology gap with their urban counterparts.”

In the Capital region, the dollars are spread out to about $1 million for East Feliciana Parish; $480,000 to St. Helena Parish; more than $300,000 to West Feliciana Parish; more than $160,000 to West Baton Rouge Parish; over $100,000 to East Baton Rouge Parish; and about $80,000 to Pointe Coupee Parish.

In southwestern Louisiana, nearly $350,000 goes to Beauregard Parish; $175,000 to Allen Parish; more than $150,000 to Jefferson Davis Parish; and more than $35,000 each to Acadia and Calcasieu parishes.