The Arkansas Department of Commerce recently announced that companies capable of deploying broadband to rural Arkansas are now eligible to apply for an Arkansas Rural Connect (ARC) grant. The Arkansas Legislative Council executive subcommittee approved the change outlined in a supplemental emergency ARC rule this week. The approved rule also gives further flexibility to the threshold that requires 500 population and retail customers.
Locally, Saline County government and Aristotle Unified Communications have already been selected at ARC award recipients in the amount of $2,962,530.
“Now more than ever we see the need to fully connect Arkansas and eliminate the digital divide,” said Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston. “I’m appreciative of the Arkansas Legislature for passing rules this week that will remove barriers and allow more flexibility for grant applicants.”
The ARC grant program had previously received $25 million in state and CARES Act funding. In August the CARES Act Steering Committee and the Arkansas Legislature approved an additional $100-million for the program to deploy broadband in rural Arkansas.
“I’m delighted to see how well communities have responded to the ARC program,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “The additional funding will make a tremendous impact and allow for telemedicine access, distance learning, and telework in our state.”
The department is currently evaluating applications with a focus on projects that can deploy broadband to qualified areas before December 30th. To view the approved supplemental emergency rules and to apply for an ARC grant, visit www.broadband.arkansas.gov.
Other Arkansas Rural Connect award recipients as of September 3, 2020, are listed below.
- Carlisle & CableSouth Media 3 – $2,000,000
- Cave City & Hillbilly Wireless – $803,762
- Center Point & Premier Holdings – $714,495
- Cotton Plant & Hillbilly Wireless – $497,001
- Crossett & CableSouth Media 3 – $2,000,000
- Diamondhead & Resort TV Cable Company – $601,000
- Donaldson & Central Arkansas Telephone Company – $1,191,000
- Earle & Comcast – $1,807,002
- Emmet & Hope Community TV – $193,000
- Fairfield Bay & Arkansas Telephone Company – $1,568,750.25
- Hamburg & CableSouth Media 3 – $2,000,000
- Hazen & Aristotle Unified Communications – $1,900,000
- Lonoke & CableSouth Media 3 – $2,000,000
- Magazine & Magazine Telephone Company – $1,026,692
- Montgomery County & Windstream – $1,645,530
- Nashville & Premier Holdings – $448,580.30
- Ozark & Pinnacle Communications – $1,909,265
- Palestine & East Arkansas Video – $927,000