Update: Senate committee approves rural broadband bill

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Update:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A push to expand broadband to rural homes in Arkansas clears its first hurdle. 

A Senate committee unanimously approved a bill that would repeal the state’s municipal broadband prohibition. 

Doing so would allow cities and counties to partner with any broadband provider of their choice and apply for federal grants. 

This comes one day after state lawmakers found more than a billion dollars available to Arkansas through USDA funds. 

“That’s the purpose for the emergency clause. It’s first come, first serve. We are ready to empower counties and cities across the state to access this money and bring broadband to their citizens,” says St. Sen. Breanne Davis, (R-Russellville).

The measure now heads to the full Senate for consideration. 

It’s one of the five priorities of the newly-formed Arkansas GOP women’s legislative caucus. 

Original story: 

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A group of lawmakers and federal officials discussed opportunities on bringing broadband internet access to rural Arkansas communities.

Representatives from the United States Department of Agriculture say $1 billion in grant money is available nationwide to providers wanting to expand broadband internet services to rural communities.

“I want Arkansas to be a major player in getting broadband internet to every corner of rural Arkansas,” says USDA Rural Development State Director David Branscum.

Branscum says people in rural areas should contact their nearest provider and ask them to request the grant money that’s available to expand high-speed internet services.

For more information on the grant money, click here.

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