Holbrook, AZ - On March 19th, the Navajo – Gila County Information Technology Education Consortium received approval for initial funding of $5,169,091.57 from the State of Arizona, with a potential match from Federal sources, to install over 1,000 miles of fiber between Navajo and Gila Counties.
The Consortium consists of 51 Schools and Libraries in Navajo and Gila Counties. Each organization would have the option to increase internet speeds, while also saving at least 70% on current costs.
“Federal funding is still needed to get this project going, but we are very excited to be part of this process,” Navajo County Information Technology Director Ken Dewitt said. “Members of the Consortium will see significant savings and improved online access once the project is completed. This is the first step in bringing our region to new technological heights.”
The proposal to bring better broadband to Consortium members was issued by NGCITEC in late December. Of the 13 vendors who heard the project during a conference call, six submitted bids in February. One month later, the bid was awarded to Red Rock Telecommunications out of Phoenix.
In order to bring the 1,000+ miles of fiber needed for the project, Red Rock will build a member Wide Area Network (WAN) between all the locations that will allow new technology opportunities for cultural exchanges in our region.
“This has the potential to not only improve the bandwidth seen by the Consortium, but help improve our region’s future economic development as well,” Navajo County Economic Development Director Paul Watson said. “By bringing faster internet speeds and accessibility to the region, we have more ability to reach telecommunication and technology based organizations. This will allow the County to attract satellite offices for existing companies, as well as create telecommunication opportunities for employees.”
The total cost for construction of the project will be $60,812,842. This additional funding is needed for the project to get under way, and a request for this additional funding has been sent to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) on March 20th.
This is the last year to apply for and receive 100% funding for construction costs using these resources.
Navajo County IT Director Ken Dewitt presented grant info to the Board of Directors
For more information:
Contact - Adam Wolfe
Navajo County Communications Manager
Phone: (928) 524-4165