$3.6M broadband projects get Santa Cruz County students online

Published: Friday, August 25, 2023 - 12:04pm
Updated: Friday, August 25, 2023 - 2:57pm

The Arizona Department of Education has completed $3.6 million in broadband projects to get students in southern Arizona online.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne said the new fiber infrastructure will benefit 1,000 students in the Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District.

“A lot of education has become online and so it’s important to us that all those students in Arizona have access to broadband," Horne said. "Of course the problem is in the rural areas. So we’re very proud of the work we’ve done.”

In Arizona, many non-metro regions have limited Internet connectivity, and on tribal lands an estimated 95 percent of household have no connectivity, according to the Department of Education.

Over the past six years, the department has brought $160 million in fiber construction projects to rural schools and libraries. That’s thanks in part to the federal E-Rate program, which provides funds to bring high-speed Internet to underserved communities.

Some of the other largest projects completed to date include:

  • Countywide fiber build in Pinal County - $33.9 million
  • Countywide fiber build in Gila County - $19.4 million
  • Fiber to the Grand Canyon School District - $5.6 million
  • Countywide fiber build in LaPaz County - $3.9 million

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