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ARC grant application submitted for Phase II of broadband expansion

DEWAYNE HOLLOWAY|dewayne@mcnews.online
MONTGOMERY COUNTY – Windstream and AR CARES have submitted an application for a $14 million grant that would fund phase two of the broadband expansion project in Montgomery County. If approved this phase would provide broadband access to 331 households in the county.
Phase two of the broadband expansion will build upon phase one which was completed at the end of 2020. This phase would provide broadband access to the Mountain Harbor area, Oden/Pencil Bluff, Black Springs, Caddo Gap and Bonnerdale.
This next phase is expected to cost $19,774,511. The ARC grant would provide $14,414,476 with Windstream covering the rest through capital investment.
Local coordinator Justin Neel stated that he is excited about this grant and expects to hear an answer sometime in November of this year. Phase two will increase the number of broadband users threefold. The only are not included is homes in the Story community. Neel stated that they are expected to be included in Phase three.
If the grant is approved Windstream projects construction to be complete January 1, 2023. Once completed customers will receive a minimum of 25Mpbs download and 3Mpbs upload.

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