Outlying areas of Pima County, including Three Points, Ajo and the Tohono O’odham Nation, will benefit from improved high-speed Internet access, thanks to federal funding recently provided by the state.
The Arizona Commerce Authority awarded Cox Communications a $5 million grant to support fiber optic broadband upgrades in the Three Points area west of Tucson and Sycamore Springs in the Sahuarita area -Tucson Corona, as part of $100 million in grants recently announced.
These projects will be supported by an additional commitment of $5.1 million from Cox Communications and $2.5 million from the Pima County Public Library, helping provide reliable internet to approximately 1,400 area residents.
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The project will also provide needed infrastructure for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, Ryan Airfield and other community institutions, the county said.
Elsewhere, Chandler-based fiber provider Alluvion Communications also received a $5 million grant for a broadband upgrade project in Ajo, and the Tohono O’odham Utility Authority received just under $5 million for broadband infrastructure in the country.
Cox said his grant will help the cable company extend broadband service to more than 100 miles of its network and also provide Internet service to the Altar Valley School District.
The expansion of the fiber optic network to Cox’s premises is part of a multi-billion dollar annual investment in infrastructure that Cox will make over the next few years to build a fiber-based network capable of 10 gigabits, a said the company.
Cox said he is also investing $175,000 in rural communities to create a Cox Innovation Center, which will house computers, printers and the latest technology for student learning in a location yet to be determined; and promoting “digital equity” through the distribution of 100 devices and low-cost Internet service to qualified residents, as well as the production and ad placement of a long-form video to promote digital equity.