Rural Broadband Expansion Coming For Acadiana
Twenty-thousand homes in businesses in rural parts of Acadiana will benefit from money that is being given to the state of Louisiana through the Federal Communications Commission to improve broadband access to rural areas.
Third District Congressman from Acadiana, Clay Higgins, says via press release, that $33 million dollars will be spent in ten different parishes to improve internet access. Acadiana's Congressman says this will go a long way in help to build reliability for services to rural areas.
Of the thirty-three million dollars, each of the following parishes is getting a significant amount of money:
- Acadia Parish $4,666,219
- Calcasieu Parish $4,612,805
- Cameron Parish $881,896
- Iberia Parish $821,790
- Jeff Davis Parish $10,242,111
- Lafayette Parish $422,720
- St. Landry Parish $6,961,720
- St. Martin Parish $1,237,039
- St. Mary Parish $1,859,845
- Vermilion Parish $1,304,399
One of the major complaints made by families who were helping their children navigate virtual learning during Covid-19 was that they either didn't have access to internet access or they could not afford it.
While the Acadiana region is receiving $33 million for rural communities, the entire state is receiving $342 million.
This grant money is coming from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund which is one of the initiatives of the FCC. This initiative is a $20 billion dollars program that aims to bridge the digital divide. Many cities have access to internet due to their population. Companies are willing to invest more technology where there are potential more customers. Unfortunately, for smaller communities and those that are more distant from major cities, that means less investment in broadband for their areas. All told, this money will impact a combination of 176,000 homes and businesses.
Congressman Clay HIggins had this to say about the grant money,
Access to high-speed broadband service has become critical for everyday life. These investments provide much-needed support and help lessen connectivity gaps in Louisiana's rural communities. We support those efforts and will continue working to expand reliable and high-quality broadband access through Louisiana.
In all, this program aims to improve access and services to millions of people across America.
U.S. Senator John Kennedy had the following to say about this grant money,
Louisianians without broadband access deserve the same educations and work opportunities that Americans who have high-speed internet already enjoy. The pandemic has made it more urgent than ever to bridge the digital divide in underserved rural areas-telehealth, telework, and online classes demand broadband expansion. It's past time to build out this infrastructure.