USDA Rural Development Issues Grants for TV Upgrade

Money is being provided to help rural public television stations transition to the digital equipment that will be required to broadcast starting in 2009.

On Friday, USDA Undersecretary Thomas Dorr announced that USDA Rural Development was providing $4.95 million to fund seven digital television transition projects in six states. Equipment for the digital transmission of television has to be in place by Feb. 17, 2009.

"These grants will ensure that public television and emergency and educational programming continues to be provided in rural areas," Dorr says.

Two of the grants, totaling $1.86 million will allow Mississippi Public Broadcasting to expand coverage and send the first digital television transmission into a region of the Mississippi Delta. Three rural translators will be converted in Oklahoma, and in North Dakota, Prairie Dog Broadcasting received $837,895 to change the signal on its Dickinson tower from analog to digital. The remaining grants went to Minnesota, Tennessee, and South Dakota for the purchase of digital equipment.

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