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Arizona broadband expansion projects are getting a $100 million infusion of cash
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Arizona broadband expansion projects are getting a $100 million infusion of cash

  • Once all the grant projects are complete, the Arizona Commerce Authority said they will increase connections for homes, businesses, public safety agencies, medical facilities, schools, libraries, and more.
    Michal Jarmoluk/PixabayOnce all the grant projects are complete, the Arizona Commerce Authority said they will increase connections for homes, businesses, public safety agencies, medical facilities, schools, libraries, and more.

Nearly two dozen broadband projects in 12 Arizona counties received funding as part of the state’s plan to spend $100 million in federal money expanding high-speed internet access in underserved areas.

“These collaborative projects will enhance how Arizonans live, work, and learn regardless of where they live,” Arizona Commerce Authority President & CEO Sandra Watson said in a press release announcing the grants.  “We are grateful to Governor Ducey and all our state and federal partners for their commitment to expand broadband statewide.”

The vast majority of the spending — $75.7 million for 14 projects — will go to 10 rural counties, while the remaining $23.6 million will fund six projects in two urban counties. The state grants will trigger more than $112 million in local matching funds, according to the Arizona Commerce Authority. 

“This award represents a generational investment toward connecting rural and underserved parts of the state and demonstrates our commitment to ensure all Arizonans have access to high-speed internet,” Gov. Doug Ducey said in a written statement.

The awarded projects went through a competitive grant application, divided into rural and urban applicants. The projects were awarded based on criteria such as return on investment and local support.

The grant program is intended to assemble and accelerate broadband infrastructure construction projects that will improve the speed, redundancy and reach of high-speed internet to consumers in rural and urban communities.

Examples of projects, according to the Arizona Commerce Authority, include installing high-speed fiber-optic infrastructure, deploying Wi-Fi access points and networking equipment for broadband internet, and expanding fiber networks.

Once all the grant projects are complete, the Arizona Commerce Authority said they will increase connections for homes, businesses, public safety agencies, medical facilities, schools, libraries, and more.

“Whether it’s public safety, education, telemedicine or more, reliable internet access is more important than ever. We’re grateful to be partnering with communities across our state to ensure we connect all of Arizona,” Ducey said in his statement.

Apache County received $9.7 million in funding, and it will be used to install fiber optic infrastructure to connect homes and businesses in eight communities in Apache County, according to Apache County School Superintendent Joy Whiting.

“This $9.7 million dollar grant means a lifeline that economic stability rests on,” Whiting said in a press release. “We have more work ahead of us, but we are super excited about Apache County’s future due to the high-speed internet and broadband available in Apache County.”

The project at completion is expected to connect more than 11,000 residents and 4,100 homes across Apache County, the press release states. 

Here is the full list of awardees for the Arizona Broadband Grant Program and their intended projects:

Rural awardees

  • Apache County: Southern Apache County Regional Broadband Project
  • Cochise County: City of Douglas and Cochise Community College
  • Cochise County: Fiber Investment for West Willcox Rural Community
  • Coconino County: Coconino County Project 4
  • Graham County: the City of Safford improved access to broadband internet
  • La Paz County: La Paz County – Altice
  • Mohave County: Wecom AZ-EXTEND
  • Mohave County: Mohave County Middle Mile Project
  • Navajo County: Navajo County-WANRack
  • Navajo County: Heber-Overgaard
  • Pinal County: Kearny AZ FTTH/FTTB initial deployment
  • Santa Cruz County: Patagonia Regional Broadband Project
  • Yuma County: Yuma County Broadband Project
  • Yuma County: City of San Luis Last Mile Project

Urban awardees

  • Maricopa County: Fiber-to-the-Premise in Gila Bend
  • Maricopa County: Surprise City Center and Heritage District
  • Maricopa County/Yavapai County: Wickenburg
  • Pima County: Expanded Broadband Access in Ajo
  • Pima County: Public Private Partnership for Three Points and Sycamore Springs
  • Pima County: Tohono O'odham Utility Authority (TOUA) Pima County Sites

This report was first published by the Arizona Mirror.


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