The Ana G. Mendez University System Inc. has been awarded a $566,505 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to buy digital equipment for educational, social and cultural planning to remote locations, José Otero-García, Rural Development State Director for Puerto Rico said Thursday.
The grant is part of an agency-wide investment in rural telecommunications infrastructure and equipment to expand access to education and economic development for rural residents.
“These investments will help public television stations serving substantially rural communities make the transition to digital broadcasts,” USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development, Patrice Kunesh said.
“This newer, digital technology will give rural residents more access to advanced teaching resources. It also will help them in their career goals as well as help expand their local economies,” he said.
USDA Rural Development is awarding grants through the Public Television Digital Transition Grant program for more than $2.5 million for six projects.
While the Federal Communications Commission required all television broadcaster to have converted their transmitter to broadcast digital signals by June 12, 2009, many rural stations have yet to complete a full digital transition of their stations across all equipment, such as studio production and master control equipment. Many stations rely on translator (repeaters to expand the broadcast range) to reach the most remote communities and the 2009 FCC deadline did not apply to these.
Public Television Digital Transition grants may be used to acquire and install facilities and software necessary for the transition. The grants also may be used for associated and engineering and environmental studies.