Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed last year, rural area residents and businesses in Arizona will be receiving $59 million for expanding high-speed internet broadband.
In a press release from the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Arizona Development Director and former Democratic Legislative Leader Charlene Fernandez, discussing this development that will lift people up and move rural areas forward, relayed:
“We are so excited about today’s announcement to advance high-speed internet in our state. Not only are we expanding access, we’re upgrading existing services so that more of our rural and remote cities and towns will have the best connectivity available. With these improvements, there’s one less barrier to doing business, staying healthy, and earning an education in rural Arizona.”
Please click here to see where/how the $59 million will be allocated.
Reactions to the announcement have been very positive.
Arizona Secretary of State and Gubernatorial Candidate Katie Hobbs offered:
“In today’s world, access to high-speed internet has become a necessity for entering the rapidly modernizing workforce and taking part in our increasingly connected society. Yet, for far too long, so many of our rural communities in Arizona have been left out of the picture. The multimillion-dollar investment to expand access to this critical resource is a big step in addressing this disparity, and as governor, I will make sure we continue this momentum so that every Arizonan can take part in this 21st Century economy.”
Former Tempe Vice Mayor and current Arizona Corporation Commission Candidate Lauren Kuby commented:
“Arizona is blessed to have former Arizona legislator Charlene Fernandez as the state director for the US Department of Agriculture. She made a strong case that the federal government needed to invest where the state government would not and has delivered on her commitment to rural Arizona.
High-speed internet represents a lifeline to our rural communities. It will enable rural businesses — local businesses — to compete. It will help students from kindergarten to college to thrive. And most importantly, broadband infrastructure will save lives. We have seen 911 systems fail in Northern Arizona, but with access to high-speed internet, families in these communities will be able to reach emergency health services.
I’m grateful for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the direct benefits it provides to Arizona families”
Arizona Congressional District Six Candidate Kirsten Engel stated:
“From telemedicine to education to farming, to sales, service and transportation, the livelihoods, health, safety, and education of Arizonans depends upon access to reliable high-speed internet service. For too long, rural Arizonans have been left out with spotty access to this critical infrastructure. I applaud the Biden-Harris Administration and USDA RuralDevelopment Arizona State Director Charlene Fernandez for closing this gap and providing $59 million for high-speed internet service in rural Arizona. This substantial investment, flowing from the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by Congress will help rural Arizonan families get out ahead.”
Arizona Congressional District Nine Write-In Candidate David Lucier wrote:
“My grandfather was in the rural telephone service business.
My father founded a telephone holding company that served rural America.
Both were inducted into the Telephone Pioneers Hall of Fame.
I spent the better part of my professional career in the rural telecommunications finance business.
Rural telephones companies have been financed through the years with federal government loan programs sponsored by USDA…much like rural electrification.
With the development of the internet, the time has come to follow the same pathway as the rural telephone companies in order to build out a rural internet delivery system.
The internet is a national necessity and no longer a “luxury” just as previous forms of telecommunication evolved.
Can you imagine life today without telecommunications whether it’s a landline, a mobile phone, or the internet?
This is a giant step forward for rural development…just as electric and telephone service were in years passed.”
Hobbs, Kuby, Engel, and Lucier are all correct.
Rural broadband expansion does:
- Represent a giant step forward for rural development.
- Reduce the technological and information access disparity between rural and urban/suburban communities.
- Provide a lifeline to rural communities.
- Help people gain additional access to online education and telemedicine, and help modernize farming and customer services.
That is why it is so important to continue to elect leaders and public servants that will champion such policies that will bring regions into the Twenty-First Century, move the state forward, and lift everyone up.