Politics · January 22, 2021

Arizona Governor Proposes to Invest for Rural broadband

PHOENIX, AZ (STL.NewsGovernor 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,” said Governor Ducey.  “The broadband investments from our budget will decrease the cost of commercial broadband development and accelerate high-speed connectivity to our rural communities.  This ensures that more Arizonans can connect to the digital tools that have become so essential.”

Governor 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.  This initiative builds on an investment of $40 million to install broadband conduit and fiber along I-17 and I-19, announced last year.

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.  In its first year, the program helped fund rural broadband expansion projects in the City of Page, Bullhead City, and the Town of Payson.  This initiative more than triples the investment in the program compared to its first year.

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.