Fast Internet comes Willacy County’s way

LASARA — A fast Internet connection has helped transform learning at the Lasara school district.

Valley Telephone Cooperative has expanded broadband connection to the school district as part of a project that has brought fast Internet hook-ups into the company’s service area.

“It’s awesome,” Lasara schools Superintendent Sara Alvarado said yesterday. “We were having issues streamlining videos in classrooms. But this enables us to access on-line quicker. It is so mush faster.”

Tomorrow, Tony Hernandez, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service administrator, will speak at a ceremony highlighting the program funded through the USDA.

Other speakers will include Alvarado, Mayor Gilbert Gonzales, Paco Valentin, state director of the USDA Rural Development; company CEO Dave Osborn; and the offices of U.S. Reps. Ruben Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, and Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville.

Alvarado and other officials will speak at the event at company offices in Raymondville.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Broadband Initiative funded the program through a $40 million loan and a $38.5 million grant.

The program expanded high-speed broadband connections in Raymondville, Lyford, Sebastian, Santa Rosa and other company service areas.

The company’s broadband service improves Internet, television and telephone service in those areas.

The company won the grant and loan in 2010, a year after its application for funding.

The project was completed last year.