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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Arizona Gov. Ducey praises improvements made to broadband infrastructure in rural communities

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Governor Doug Ducey praised the improvements made to broadband infrastructure in rural communities in southern Arizona in a recent tweet.

"Improved broadband infrastructure means greater access to education, increased public safety and economic growth," Ducey tweeted Friday. "Arizona’s broadband development grants will have a significant impact on communities like Douglas."

Douglas was one of 14 Arizona communities awarded thousands of dollars in grants to create and renovate their broadband infrastructure. In addition, private broadband provider Cox Communications was given $8.2 million from the Arizona Broadband Grant Program to install a fiber network in Douglas. Funding for the program came from the American Rescue Plan Act. In addition, Cox Communications will invest $2.3 million of its own money into the project, as well as laying over 8 miles of fiber-optic cables to the Douglas campus of Cochise College.

“For us, the fiber coming in — even as good as our microwave system is — this will be four times faster,” Cochise College President James Dale "J.D." Rottweiler said.

“We've had struggles getting grants or small business operations coming in because of the lack of broadband,” Douglas Mayor Donald Huish said in support of the additional funds. “We are losing out on some of these things that would really benefit the community.”

Douglas has seen a rise in unemployment since 2011, with the rate increasing from 9.1% in 2010, to 13.1% in 2020. In contrast, the population of Douglas has declined from 17,363 in 2011, to 16,292 in 2020. With backing from the provided grants, Huish now sees a brighter future for his community.

“Douglas is very family-oriented," he said. "It’s a hard-working community and it is ready to expand.”

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