O’Halleran Applauds New Broadband Development Grant Awardees in Arizona
WASHINGTON—Following the recent announcement of $3 million in new available broadband grants for rural and tribal communities across Arizona, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) issued the following statement:
“Investing in rural high-speed internet infrastructure will unlock economic and educational opportunities for rural and tribal communities that have long gone underserved. Access to 21st century technology is essential for students, job-seekers, health care providers, and small businesses. In our increasingly connected world, it is now more important than ever to ensure rural America is not left behind.”
Development grants, awarded to recipients with projects ready for construction, were awarded to Commnet to create a new fiber-optic middle mile to Page to serve 310 small businesses and 1,066 households within the First District. Planning grants, given to projects in the development phase, were awarded to Coconinco County, Gila County, the town of Springerville, and the city of St. Johns in Arizona’s First Congressional District. Additional development grants were awarded to Sparklight and Mohave Electric Co-op, businesses that serve residents of Arizona’s Fourth Congressional District.
The Arizona Commerce Authority’s announcement follows funding awards totaling $28 million from the FCC’s Connect America Fund in 2019 for Commnet Four Corners and NTUA Wireless to deploy broadband access to over 7,000 households across northern Arizona.
“According to federal data, nearly 25 million Americans living in rural areas do not have access to high-speed internet,” continued O’Halleran. “I am pleased to see these new grants and am looking forward to continued collaboration with state government to secure more opportunities to close the digital divide.”
Earlier this year, O’Halleran joined a bipartisan group to introduce the Broadband Data Improvement Act of 2019, legislation that would improve the broadband mapping process nationwide to accurately reflect coverage levels in rural areas.
More information on the awarded grants can be found on the Arizona Commerce Authority’s website.