The federal government is paying out $7 million to bring high-speed internet to residents of California’s rural Colorado Desert.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the package of loans and grants on Thursday, Sept. 22.
“Accessible high-speed internet is critical to community development and prosperity,” Rural Development California State Director Maria Gallegos Herrera is quoted as saying in a department news release. “Historically, rural communities have lacked access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet. … We know that when rural communities thrive, all communities thrive.”
Additional funding is expected in the future, through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which was signed into law in November 2021, and includes $65 billion to expand high-speed internet nationally.
“High-speed internet will improve the rural economy. It will help rural businesses grow and get access to new markets. It will help rural residents get access to more and better health care and educational opportunities,” Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is quoted as saying in the news release. “USDA knows rural America is America’s backbone, and prosperity here means prosperity for all.”
The more than $7 million was allocated to Fort Mojave Telecommunications Inc. to deploy a fiber optic network expected to connect 3,498 people, 137 businesses and seven schools to high-speed internet. The company has committed to providing internet service at speeds of 100 megabits per second (download and upload) to every location in the proposed service area.
The company’s service area includes Fort Mohave, Golden Shores, Mohave Valley, Needles and Topock.
Customers will be able to access the high-speed internet connections through the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program. Details of the program are available at FtMojave.com/acp/.