BROADBAND SUPPORT STILL STRONG

BROADBAND SUPPORT STILL STRONG

A lot of conversations have occurred lately in Cook County regarding a broadband grant Arrowhead Electric Cooperative intended on applying for.  The grant administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) & the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is part of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act.  Working with our partners Cook County, Boreal and CCG consulting, Arrowhead Electric put forth substantial effort in preparation for a grant application which, if successful, would provide a fiber optic broadband service to all of our members.  The project not only would provide incredible internet speeds but would also offer phone and cable television service at an affordable cost with a local connection.

 As a cooperative working with our partners, we strived to put together the best application possible.  Unfortunately, one obstacle became insurmountable.  A requirement of a successful grant application meant Arrowhead Electric would need to provide over nine million dollars ($9,000,000) in matching funds.  Our intention was to create a not for profit LLC, which would take on the risk of the 9 million dollar bank loan.  In doing so we would protect our members from any financial risk.  However, in these economic times we were unable to secure such a loan without placing the burden of risk onto our members and exposing the assets of the electric cooperative.  At our annual meeting in June at St. John’s Catholic Church we told you – our member owners, we would not expose your electric cooperative to any financial risk as part of this project.

We felt it paramount that despite the unexpected developments in obtaining funds for a new LLC, we kept our word with our member owners.  As such, we turned over the grant application ownership to Cook County.  Cook County has since applied for the grant with our full support and we are hopeful of its success.

As a member owned cooperative we see the numerous benefits this project brings to our membership and we will strive to support Cook County in its broadband efforts.  The benefits to residents, competitiveness of our businesses, and growth of our local economy in many ways hinges on our ability to access broadband technologies.

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