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The Arizona Commerce Authority awarded Coconino County with a $50,000 Arizona Rural Broadband Development Grant to accelerate the enhancement of broadband infrastructure to support economic growth and improve quality of life for Arizona’s rural residents.
Coconino County will use the grant dollars for a feasibility study to validate the need for high speed internet connectivity to underserved areas within northern Arizona. The study will also help determine how to plan for future middle mile and/or last mile broadband construction buildouts.
“I want to thank the Arizona Commerce Authority for recognizing the tremendous need our rural residents face in northern Arizona,” said Chair of the Coconino County Board of Supervisors Lena Fowler. “People without access to broadband internet are put at an incredible disadvantage. They can’t do school research or complete online exams, apply for jobs or start their own business. This grant will help the County understand the real cost of expanding broadband to the areas that need it most and that will hopefully lead to strong economic development and prosperity for the people living in northern Arizona.”
The County will also use grant funds to produce a five-year pro-forma financial analysis on network sustainability in the post-construction environment, conduct a strategic framework to evaluate various options for ongoing support of the broadband network, once commissioned and operational and explore best practices available to the County toward broadband development for the region.
There are approximately 44,383 people, 19,536 households, 35 schools, 16 health care, 13 public safety entities and 19 tribal communities that make-up the underserved area. There are also five county buildings, a variety of municipal entities and court services that are without adequate broadband capabilities.