Fairfield Bay, in partnership with Arkansas Telephone Co., has received a $1.57 million Arkansas Rural Connect grant to deploy fiber internet to homes there. It’s the first such grant to be awarded.
“This is the first of many projects to be awarded to rural Arkansas communities,” said Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston in a news release. “The ARC grant program is important for the long-term success of our state’s economy.”
The Arkansas Department of Commerce received $19.3 million in CARES Act funds for ARC grants; the spending was approved by the CARES Act Steering Committee and the Arkansas legislature.
Grant recipients must expend the funds by Dec. 30. In addition, $4.7 million is available in state funds for projects that would extend beyond that date.
“COVID-19 reminds us that broadband is a necessity. Arkansans need strong connectivity for telemedicine, distance education, and telework,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in the release. “Broadband and the ARC program are vital for our response during this pandemic.”
The department is currently evaluating applications with a focus on projects that can deploy broadband to qualified areas before Dec. 30. For more information or to apply for an ARC grant, click here.