Arizona gets $17M in funding for 2 rural high-speed internet projects

Oct 30, 2022, 7:15 AM
(AP Photo/Wilson Ring, File)...
(AP Photo/Wilson Ring, File)

(AP Photo/Wilson Ring, File)

PHOENIX — Two rural Arizona cities received approximately $17.1 million in federal funding for the investment in high-speed internet projects, the United States Department of Agriculture announced Thursday.

The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority will get just over $7 million and the Tohono O’odham Utility Authority will use a $10 million grant for investments to connect thousands of people, businesses and schools to high-speed internet, according to a nationwide announcement of $759 million from the USDA.

“The ReConnect Program will assist the rural communities in Arizona, especially with our Tribal communities,” USDA Rural Development Arizona State Director Charlene Fernandez said in the release.

“This program will aid the Navajo and Tohono O’odham Tribal communities and numerous areas in Navajo, Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties. The equity in the program allows disadvantaged rural area, Tribal reservations and trust lands to get the same high-speed internet access as elsewhere in Arizona.”

The projects are funded through the third funding round of the ReConnect Program.

The NTUA will make high-speed internet affordable with its participation in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, while serving the Navajo Nation Reservation and socially vulnerable communities in Navajo County.

The TOUA will work to serve socially vulnerable communities in Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties, as well as the Tohono O’odham Nation Reservation and off-reservation trust land.

Eligibility for the ReConnect Program requires that an applicant serves an area that doesn’t have service to speeds of 100 megabits per second (download) and 20 Mbps (upload). It also requires the commitment to providing high-speed internet services to every location in its service area.

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Arizona gets $17M in funding for 2 rural high-speed internet projects