The Utah Broadband Center, powered by the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, recently announced its Broadband Access Grant recipients. The awardees are All West/Utah Inc., Box Elder County Government, CentraCom Interactive, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, and South Utah Valley Electric Special Service District.
The Broadband Access Grant program offsets capital expenses in deploying “last-mile broadband” in unserved rural and underserved economically distressed areas.
Last-mile infrastructure is broadband that serves as the final leg connecting the broadband service provider’s network to the end-user customer’s on-premises telecommunications or internet equipment.
The investments are part of the $10 million in funds received through the federal American Rescue Plan Act distributed by the Utah Broadband Center to help households and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dan Hemmert, Go Utah’s executive director, announced that the investment will deploy broadband infrastructure to populations across the state. Due to rurality, economic need, or high cost, these areas would not otherwise have broadband infrastructure. These areas include Box Elder County, Croydon, Millard County, West Mountain, and Montezuma Creek, including Native American tribal lands in San Juan County.
“Broadband is today what electricity and the telephone were to households generations ago,” said Hemmert. “In today’s fast-paced world, broadband infrastructure is critical for education, healthcare, and workforce needs. We’re excited this program will bring broadband infrastructure to communities and businesses in Utah that may not have as much access to broadband. It’s important for our economy to invest in all of Utah.”
The five Broadband Access Grant recipients are as follows:
- All West/Utah Inc. has been approved to receive $508,425 in grant funds to combine with $169,475 of matching funds to connect a high-speed fiber network to 56 locations, including 50 households and six farms/ranches in Croyden, Morgan County.
- Box Elder County Government will receive $5,856,443 in grant funds to combine with $5,117,895 of matching funds to connect high-speed fiber network in the communities of Bear River City, Elwood, Howell, Mantua, and Willard and the unincorporated areas of Penrose, Thatcher, and South Willard for a total of 2,460 locations comprising 1,208 households, 48 businesses, 79 farms and ranches, and 25 anchor institutions or public facilities. They are partnering with local broadband providers.
- CentraCom Interactive has been approved to receive $839,708 in grant funds combined with $279,903 of matching funds to connect a high-speed fiber network to 473 households in Millard County.
- Navajo Tribal Utility Authority will receive $420,732 in grant funds to combine with $140,244 of matching funds to connect a high-speed fiber network to 96 locations, including 84 households, seven businesses, and six anchor institutions/public facilities in Montezuma Creek, San Juan County.
- South Utah Valley Electric Special Service District serving the communities of West Mountain and Payson have been approved to receive $2,174,692 in grant funds to combine with $1,610,308 in matching funds to connect high-speed fiber network to 1,095 total locations, which include 1,080 households, 15 businesses, and two or more anchor institutions or public facilities. They are partnering with Centracom.