Local Telecommunications Firm Awarded $14.8 million to provide access to high-speed internet
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture & Alluvion Communications
Phoenix, Ariz., Aug. 11, 2021 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $14.8 million in Arizona to deploy broadband infrastructure in rural areas without sufficient access to high-speed internet.
“Generations ago, the federal government recognized that without affordable access to electricity, Americans couldn’t fully participate in modern society and the modern economy. Broadband internet is the new electricity. It is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning and health care, and to stay connected,” Secretary Vilsack said.
“This is why President Biden’s American Jobs Plan prioritizes building ‘future-proof’ broadband infrastructure – like the investments we’re announcing today – in areas without sufficient access to broadband, so that we finally reach 100 percent high-speed broadband coverage.”
Gila Local Exchange Carrier, Inc., which does business as Alluvion Communications, headquartered in Chandler, Ariz., will use funds to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network in rural Arizona. The funded service area includes 5,547 households, 22,645 people, 142 businesses, three fire stations, a police department, a school, a health care facility and six farms.
Access to high-speed internet connectivity will improve the health and safety and quality of life for residents in these rural communities. The network will extend roughly 59 square miles and will be strategically placed to service both near-term and future developments in parts of rural Arizona.
“I would like to begin by thanking the USDA for their continued commitment to deploying high-speed internet service to rural communities across the United States. Your support has enabled distance learning, telemedicine, and precision agriculture technology for some of the most under-served communities in the nation,” said David Ackerman, Alluvion General Manager in a Alluvion press release.
He added, “The funding will allow Alluvion to establish a fiber-optic line that will extend broadband access across Pima County, Pinal County, and Gila County. The project will greatly improve the quality of life of and create opportunity for rural Arizonans across portions of the state that likely wouldn’t be serviced at fiber speeds by other broadband providers, even though many of these areas could see significant growth in the future.”
The Alluvion press release said the network will be capable of providing service to all premises in the area at a speed of at least 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 100 Mbps upstream.
Ackerman said, “Our fiber will also increase the bandwidth capabilities and fiber networks of tribally-owned telecommunications providers in Tribal communities, including the Tohono O’odham Tribe in Southern Arizona and the Gila River Indian Community.”
The investment being announced today is part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect Program as well as other funds made available for the program since 2018. USDA expects to begin inviting applications for a third round of program funds in the coming weeks.
USDA’s ReConnect Program provides loans and grants to construct, improve or acquire facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas. To learn more about ReConnect Program eligibility, technical assistance and recent announcements, visit www.usda.gov/reconnect.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas.
This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.
In summing up the USDA’s announcement Ackerman said, “Alluvion remains committed to becoming Arizona’s premier provider of data and communications by building and supporting robust networks and creating opportunity and economic growth in our community.”