Yuma County Broadband Network Set to Undergo Major Upgrade


YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) – A multi-million dollar investment is being debated to help those who work or learn from home. The money would provide a faster, more reliable Internet at a more affordable cost.

The Yuma County Supervisory Board met for a special session on Monday morning. Current plans call for 181 miles of fiber optic cables to be installed underground.

“I use it to send emails, to talk to people, and to read newspapers, magazines and podcasts. “

For Robert Steele, a Yuma County veteran, reliable internet speed is important.

“They are not really reliable because the internet often goes down and I have to restart my internet service a few times a week, sometimes twice a day,” Steele admitted.

This is a problem that a lot of people are familiar with.

Yuma County officials say that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the county had poor internet service. They say the current vendors have not sufficiently upgraded the existing infrastructure.

“It’s not only common in Yuma County. This is common to many rural areas where broadband is spotty to say the least. with that, ”Reyes explained.

President Tony Reyes says the poor network affects those who work from home and even schoolchildren who learn virtually.

The supervisory board seeks to encourage the private sector to participate in this project.

“This is ultimately one of the reasons we are sitting here because we ultimately want the private sector to go ahead and complete this project and make it available to residents with broadband at a reasonable amount,” he said. Reyes said.

The current estimated cost is $ 37.5 million.

50% will come from the county’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, while the other half could come from state and federal broadband grant funds.

One thing is for sure, Steele is eagerly awaiting much better coverage.

“We can’t really get video through that, movies, and downloads. So broadband would really open up the Internet for us, ”Steele added.

The supervisory board did not vote on the motion at Monday’s meeting – asking for an additional ten days to allow for public comment.

If approved, the county says planned completion could be between December 2022 and June 2023.


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