Photo via Ponderosa Facebook page

published on August 23, 2022 - 1:43 PM
Written by Ben Hensley

Madera County’s Ponderosa Communications, Inc., announced it has secured a $6.4 million loan and a $6.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to upgrade its existing copper-wire network to a fiber-optic connection.

The funding will help improve infrastructure for the rural communication provider based in the town of O’Neals, a mountain community northeast of Madera.

“Modern communications requires fiber to close the digital divide,” said Ponderosa General Manager Chad Rupe. “We intend to continue to push fiber optic technology throughout our service territories.”

The loan is part of the ReConnect III program, which offers funding to assist in the long-term development and opportunities in parts of the country that lack sufficient broadband infrastructure.

This project will deploy 63.7 miles of connection to 299 locations throughout the Auberry, Big Creek and Shaver Lake regions.

Table Top Telephone, a subsidiary of Ponderosa based in Arizona, also received $3.7 million to fund 43.5 miles of fiber optic connection to 179 locations in Apache County, Arizona.

“Ponderosa understands the importance of staying informed on communication trends and delivering the best technology possible to our customers,” said Ponderosa President Kristann Mattes. “This funding will continue our tradition of investing in the well-being of our community and its future.”

This is the first time Ponderosa and Table Top have received funding through the ReConnect program. The company hopes it will not be the last, as it continues to seek to improve and upgrade communications in the rural areas they serve.

“When this capacity is matched with our commitment to our customers in the places we work and live, our customers thrive,” Rupe said.

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