TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Governor Doug Ducey is urging the Legislature to strongly support his proposal to invest more than $40 million in a dramatic expansion of broadband in rural Arizona.
“Reliable, high-speed internet is crucial for health care, public safety, education and economic development,” Gov. Ducey said.
According to a news release, Ducey’s broadband proposal is a central element of the state spending plan announced on Jan. 15. It includes investing $33.1 million to install broadband conduit and fiber from Flagstaff to the California border along I-40.
The expansion will add approximately 195 miles of broadband conduit that will be available for commercial broadband development, and make it easier to connect communities along that corridor.
“The broadband investments from our budget will decrease the cost of commercial broadband development and accelerate high-speed connectivity to our rural communities,” Gov. Ducey said. “This ensures that more Arizonans can connect to the digital tools that have become so essential.”
The Governor also proposed investing $10 million to renew and expand the Rural Broadband Development Grant Program, accelerating the development of rural broadband infrastructure directly to homes and businesses.
The program will also support community broadband planning to help design effective broadband solutions. In its first year, the program funded planning grants in Coconino and Gila Counties, as well as the City of St. Johns and the Town of Springerville.