Construction may start soon on Callaway broadband project

How long does it take for the federal government to spend stimulus grant money authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that was designed to provide immediate stimulus to the economy?

Just ask Carson Coffman of Socket Telecom, LLC., of Columbia.

More than one year ago, the firm received a $16.6 million federal stimulus Rural Utility Service grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to extend broadband high-speed Internet access in Callaway County.

Coffman, who is Socket’s co-owner, had applied for the grant in 2009 but didn’t make the cut. But in August of 2010, he hit paydirt. Socket received a $16.6 million federal grant to help fund a $23.7 million high speed fiber optic Internet project designed to provide high-speed Internet connections to many Callaway County residents. Many Fulton residents, institutions and businesses also will benefit from the new service.

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