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The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences announced Thursday that 30 grants of up to $75,000 each are now available to help the state’s rural communities apply for federal grants and loans to fund broadband deployment projects.
Cities, incorporated towns, counties and unincorporated communities can use the money they are awarded to conduct the due-diligence business studies they’ll need for those applications.
This $2 million Rural Broadband I.D. Expenses Trust Fund program is sponsored by state Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View and funded by the state’s Restricted Reserve Fund and federal CARES Act money. It is managed by the Institute for Digital Health & Innovation at UAMS.
This program also comes as the coronavirus pandemic pushes much of daily living online, highlighting Arkansas’ status as a laggard in broadband deployment and illustrating the digital divide between broadband haves and have-nots.