Arizona continues to expand broadband access – The Bee – The Buzz in Bullhead City – Lake Havasu City – Kingman – Arizona – California

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In today’s digitally connected world, many Arizona residents need reliable high-speed and high-speed Internet access to meet their many needs: education, employment, healthcare, public safety, and even Cyber ​​Monday.

Governor Doug Ducey is committed to ensuring that all residents of Arizona, especially those in rural areas, have access to a reliable Internet. In 2013, before Governor Ducey was elected, just over 76% of Arizona households had access to a high-speed Internet connection; Arizona is ranked 35th in the country for Internet access. In 2018, more than 86% of Arizona households had access to high-speed internet, well above the national average, and Arizona was tied for 14th in the country for access.

This significant improvement was made possible by steps taken by the governor and state legislature to expand broadband access to all corners of Arizona.

On November 15, Governor Ducey announced a $ 100 million commitment to expand broadband to unserved or underserved areas of the state, making it one of the largest broadband investments in the state. history of the state.

The program will enable local communities to build or improve broadband infrastructure that connects Arizona residents to their homes and serves schools, libraries, small businesses, public safety operations and more.

On May 10, the governor signed legislation to expand broadband access in Arizona, advancing a commitment outlined earlier this year in his state-of-the-state address.

The legislation allows private broadband providers to install, operate and maintain telecommunications equipment within Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) rights-of-way. It also enables ADOT to grant access to its own broadband path to private telecommunications companies on a non-exclusive and non-discriminatory basis, thereby reducing the cost of installing rural broadband infrastructure.

Introduced in the FY2021 executive budget and backed by the governor, the state is investing $ 100 million to build broadband corridors along Interstate 19 and Interstate 17 to serve as the backbone of the provision of broadband services to accelerate economic development, improve education, expand access to health care, improve public safety and modernize government services.

As part of the FY2020 budget, Governor Ducey and the state legislature invested $ 3 million to establish the Rural Broadband Development Grants Program, designed to help local rural leaders build high-speed Internet infrastructure. In September 2019, the Arizona Commerce Authority opened applications for the program. The governor’s $ 100 million commitment in November will strengthen grant funding.

The FY2018 budget allocated $ 3 million to fund broadband connectivity for rural and / or very poor schools and libraries in need of internet connections. This $ 3 million investment leveraged larger amounts of federal funding for these projects from the Federal Communications Commission.

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