The Arkansas Department of Commerce awarded Cave City $803,762 from its Arkansas Rural Connect (ARC) broadband grant program. The city will work in partnership with Hillbilly Wireless and the project will deploy fixed wireless to homes in Cave City.
“I constantly hear from economic development leaders across the state about the poor broadband coverage in rural Arkansas,” said Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston. “The ARC program will change that and allow rural Arkansas to compete globally.”
“Broadband is essential infrastructure and is similar to electricity, clean water, and paved roads,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “I will continue to ensure that Arkansans have access to 21st century infrastructure.”
The Arkansas Department of Commerce received $19.3 million in CARES Act funds for ARC grants after an approval from the CARES Act Steering Committee and the Arkansas legislature. Grant recipients must expend the COVID-19 federal funds by Dec. 30 of this year. Additionally, $4.7 million is available in state funds for projects that would extend beyond Dec. 30. The goal of the program is to provide high-speed broadband to rural communities.
“Like many rural areas across the state, District 19 suffers from not having quality broadband,” said State Sen. James Sturch, R-Batesville. “Connecting Cave City is a good first step to expand the broadband footprint in North Arkansas.”
“I am proud to be a member of the CARES Act Steering Committee, which is the funding source for the ARC program,” said State Representative Michelle Gray, R-Melbourne. “Not only will these funds help us respond to COVID-19, but they will create a lasting impact on Arkansas.”