ACA allocates $100M in broadband grants to 20 awardees in rural and urban Arizona
PHOENIX — The Arizona Commerce Authority announced earlier this month the allocation of $100 million in broadband grants to 20 awardees in rural and urban Arizona to increase connections for underserved areas.
Through the Arizona Broadband Development Grant Program launched last November by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, $75.7 million will go to 14 awardees in rural counties, while $23.6 million will go to six awardees in urban counties, according to the ACA.
“This award represents a generational investment toward connecting rural and underserved parts of the state and demonstrates our commitment to ensure all Arizonans have access to high-speed internet,” Ducey said in the release.
“Whether it’s public safety, education, telemedicine or more, reliable internet access is more important than ever.”
The grant projects aim to increase connection for schools, homes, public safety agencies, medical facilities, libraries and businesses when completed.
Some projects will consist of installing high-speed fiber-optic infrastructure and expanding existing and middle-mile fiber networks.
In the Valley, Surprise and city-based internet provider Wyyerd was allotted $1.65 million to improve broadband capacity in its city center and Heritage District, according to a press release.
Wyyerd plans to install about 40 miles of fiber in the two areas, which will help in giving capacity and more affordability to underserved residents in the Heritage District where more than 31% of households have no broadband internet subscription.
Gila Bend and Wickenburg were the other two cities in Maricopa County that received broadband grants, while three others were given to awardees in Pima County.
Grants were also distributed across 10 rural counties, excluding Gila, Greenlee and Yavapai counties.
The grant builds off of the Arizona Statewide Middle-Mile Strategic Plan launched in February that will install 200 miles of broadband conduit in corridors along Interstate 17 and Interstate 19 by 2023.
“These collaborative projects will enhance how Arizonans live, work and learn regardless of where they live,” Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the ACA, said in the release.