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Mississippi Expands Broadband Access with $70.9 Million Investment

Governor Tate Reeves has announced a significant step forward in Mississippi’s efforts to enhance broadband access across the state. The Office of Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi (BEAM) has approved 24 broadband infrastructure projects funded by the Capital Projects Fund (CPF), aimed at bringing broadband internet to previously underserved areas.

Among the regions set to benefit from this initiative is DeSoto County, where officials are celebrating the allocation of over $5.47 million in CPF grants for the DeSoto County Broadband Connectivity Program. A special event is scheduled for July 1 at 2 p.m., where BEAM Director Sally Doty will deliver a keynote address alongside other distinguished speakers.

Governor Reeves emphasized the importance of digital infrastructure in driving economic growth: “We’re working hard to expand broadband infrastructure to all corners of Mississippi. Digital infrastructure is redefining our economy, and we want to ensure every Mississippian has reliable broadband access. These projects will be critical to our state’s efforts, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact that they will have on Mississippi.”

In DeSoto County, the state funding will support efforts by AT&T and C Spire to bring broadband to unserved areas. The breakdown of CPF awards for DeSoto County includes approximately $3.49 million allocated to AT&T and $2.25 million to C Spire. Statewide, the $70.9 million in grant funding will benefit around 27,000 households across 19 counties.

County officials highlighted the progress of the DeSoto County Broadband Connectivity Program, noting that contracts for 3,520 addresses were initiated in January 2023, with over 2,100 addresses now having access to high-speed internet as of June 17. The county remains on track to provide fiber internet to nearly all residents by the end of the year.

Board of Supervisors President Lee Caldwell expressed enthusiasm for the project’s impact: “I am excited to witness the culmination of 12 years of unwavering dedication to bringing high-speed internet to our entire county. This journey has been filled with challenges, but my vision to reach those who would otherwise remain disconnected has never wavered.”

District 2 Supervisor Mark Gardner underscored the personal impact of expanded internet access: “You don’t realize how vital the internet is to daily living – until you don’t have internet. My children and grandchildren live at one of the 3,520 addresses that don’t have access to the internet. They, and their neighbors, are hopeful to get internet access by the fall. It wouldn’t be possible if not for the partnership with internet providers and grants from the Board of Supervisors and the State Broadband Office.”

For more information on broadband availability and coverage in DeSoto County, residents can visit the Broadband Connectivity Program webpage, which features a detailed map indicating areas with and without high-speed internet service.

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