Congressman Kevin Cramer announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Agency approved a $2.8 million grant to BEK Communications Cooperative of Steele, N.D., to improve e-connectivity access in rural North Dakota. This grant is part of a $91 million nationwide broadband infrastructure investment by USDA to provide innovation and technology to increase economic competitiveness and opportunities in rural America.
BEK Communications will receive a total of $2,828,547 to construct a fiber-to-the-home broadband system providing state-of-the-art services to 126 households in Morton County. A community center will also be located within a facility at a local park where residents can access computer terminals and WiFi free of charge. This will be contributed as part of BEK Communications Cooperative’s matching fund contribution. This project will allow the residents and businesses in this area to access high quality voice, video, and broadband services so they may have easier access to the economic, health care, educational, and quality of life opportunities such services enable.
Headquartered in Kidder County, BEK Communications provides advanced telecommunications services to 20 exchanges in South-Central North Dakota as the incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC). It also provides services as a competitive local exchange carrier in several areas surrounding their ILEC exchanges with a total of approximately 9,000 customers. BEK will expand its system to this new community and contribute $549,155 to help complete the project.