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For many parishes in the Acadiana region, getting adequate Internet speeds is a challenge that has impacted business and residential growth. In some parishes, 1 in 3 homes do not have any broadband access.
The state had hoped to announce COVID-related grants for broadband expansion, water and sewer projects and resident and business support by mid-October, but the timeline has been pushed back to early 2022.
The massive infrastructure bill, if approved, could give the state $100 million for expanding its rural Internet and subsidize services, which would be significant for the nearly 20 percent of households without broadband.
Alamance and Randolph counties are nearly 5.5 percentage points behind the national average for broadband connectivity, making learning and working remotely very expensive, or impossible, for many.
The government is putting real money toward a historic expansion of America’s broadband services, but pulling it off may require accountability measures, affordable services and higher standards for minimum speeds.
State and local governments are set to receive billions if the legislation passes, including funding to support cybersecurity, broadband, transit, roads, water and more. Here are the details.
An estimated 25 percent of Oklahoma students don’t have high-speed Internet access at home, severely impacting children’s learning opportunities. Many households don’t even have reliable cell service.
A federal judge has ruled that the state’s Department of Transportation must approve two public right-of-way permits to a Santa Fe company trying to establish broadband services in underserved communities.
Officials remain in the planning phase on how to spend the rest of the county’s American Rescue Plan funds. Residents have advocated investing in education, broadband, minority investment and infrastructure.
State and local leaders should prod Washington for the funding that can close the digital divide, protect utilities from cyber criminals, build smart cities and shape incentives for high-tech manufacturing.