FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 12, 2022
Navajo County wins $9.7 Million Broadband Grant
Holbrook, AZ – Navajo County has won a $9.7 million rural Broadband grant from the Arizona Commerce Authority to help ensure residents can live, work, learn, and compete in a global economy by creating access to affordable, reliable, high-speed internet. The $9.7 million from this competitive grant will be combined with the $10 million already allocated by the Navajo County Board of Supervisors from ARPA funds for a total $19.7 million investment in broadband infrastructure.
“Navajo County has struggled with an absence of reliable broadband options for years and the Board of Supervisors has aggressively pursued opportunities to make accessible broadband a reality in rural Arizona,” stated Navajo County Chairwoman Dawnafe Whitesinger. “This grant is an incredible opportunity to leverage the County’s funds to begin construction of a middle mile network and we are grateful for the collaboration and support from our many partners including the AZ Commerce Authority, Magellan Advisors, Public Safety agencies, our Cities and Towns, and our Tribes. With their cooperation this imperative infrastructure will positively impact local businesses, organizations, and communities across the region”
The nearly $20 million investment will construct a middle mile network of fiber that will serve as the backbone for local providers to build from and connect individual customers, businesses, and schools to high-speed internet. This new infrastructure will also improve the overall resiliency and redundancy of high-speed internet in the region by establishing additional network connection points designed to prevent single points of failure.
The Navajo County Board of Supervisors has selected middle mile infrastructure provider WANRack to build the network and construction will begin later this year with new service expected to be available in 2024. Arizona Public Service (APS) will also be an important partner in the construction of the network by providing critical access to right-of-way and existing physical infrastructure. Navajo County’s middle mile network has been designed to incorporate into a larger regional strategy for a redundant fiber ring that runs throughout Northern Arizona as designed for the Northern Arizona Council of Governments (NACOG) Broadband Strategic Plan. The AZ Commerce Authority also awarded $4 million to Sparklight to expand broadband access in Heber-Overgaard which will also be a major factor in expanding services in the area.
Access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet is also essential for businesses and economic growth in the region. “Studies conducted by the REAL AZ Economic Development Group have shown that the lack of redundant broadband internet has stifled business development and expansion in the region,” explained Navajo County Supervisor Jason Whiting. “Every company looking at expanding in Navajo County has questions about broadband—it is as important as power and water in a world of online commerce. We have a strong vision for Navajo County’s economy and this funding for high-speed internet infrastructure will help meet businesses’ needs.”
For more information:
Contact Bryan Layton
Assistant County Manager
Office: (928) 524-4152