Arizona’s primary economic development group has announced it is awarding funding to two rural-based counties in the Grand Canyon State for broadband enhancement and expansion.
Last year the Arizona State Legislature approved around $3 million in funds to advance broadband infrastructure in primarily rural areas.
Now the Arizona Commerce Authority is announcing that $50,000 will be going to Coconino County to pay for a feasibility study looking at the need for increased internet connectivity in the northern rural county of 134,000 people.
In a statement, Lena Fowler, chair of the Coconino County Board of Supervisors, said the Arizona Rural Broadband Development Grant will “help the county understand the real cost of expanding broadband to the areas that need it most.”
A second $50,000 grant is slated for Gila County, which is located in central Arizona and has a population of around 54,000 residents.
In a press release, Sandra Watson, chief executive officer of the Arizona Commerce Authority, expressed confidence that the grants “will help bridge the connectivity gap between urban and rural communities by enhancing connectivity for rural Arizona’s citizens, businesses, healthcare facilities, and schools.”
According to a recent study called the Arizona Statewide Broadband Strategic Plan, nearly 900,000 people in Arizona, living primarily in tribal communities or remote rural areas, lack Internet access in their homes.
By Garry Boulard
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