A program set up by the Federal Communications Commission and designed to accelerate broadband infrastructure construction across the country is in the process of paying big dividends for Arizona.
The state is now on the verge of receiving up to $115 million in federal funding through the E-rate program for broadband infrastructure programs across the state.
That program specifically focuses on increasing broadband connections for underserved rural schools and libraries.
Combined with other funds from other sources, Arizona has a total of $127 million targeting broadband construction projects that are expected to be completed within the next two years.
Among the Arizona projects to be funded is $17 million for broadband school and library installation in Gila County.
As administered through the Universal Service Administrative Company, the E-Rate program offers discounts for individual projects depending based upon the level of poverty in any given rural school district.
According to the FCC, more than $8.3 billion was dispersed for E-Rate projects nationally last year.
By Garry Boulard