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5 new broadband expansion projects approved in Mississippi

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Five broadband projects have been approved for the state of Mississippi by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

The projects are in addition to Mississippi’s seven other Broadband Infrastructure Program (BIP) projects that are already in various stages of completion.

In 2022, the state was awarded over $32 million for the BIP to be overseen by the Office of Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi (BEAM). With the new projects, BEAM anticipates the funds to allow service providers to reach a total of 8,416 households that do not have access to high-speed internet.

“The state of Mississippi is expanding broadband to all corners of the state,” Governor Tate Reeves said. “This investment will further our longstanding efforts to connect Mississippians regardless of their zip code or location. I look forward to seeing the positive impact these projects will have on our state.”

The five new projects will provide service to 2,579 households and 44 businesses across areas of Lincoln County, Pearl River County, and Tunica County.

“BEAM is proud of the hard work of the service providers that have applied for this funding and are willing to complete these projects on such a short timeline,” Sally Doty, Director of BEAM, explained. The original projects approved by NTIA in 2022 and the five new projects approved in late September must all be completed by September 2024.”

The previous projects are expected to reach 5,837 households and 255 businesses in Calhoun, Coahoma, Covington, Issaquena, Lincoln, Madison, and Smith counties.

The project located in Covington County is currently 60 percent complete, while progress in Coahoma County is at an estimated 50 percent.

The five remaining projects are in the final stages of environmental review, with construction set to begin as soon as these prerequisites are finished.

BEAM is currently reviewing applications for the $151 million Capital Projects Funds (CPF), with initial awards expected to be announced in the fall. The office is also preparing to administer the $1.2 billion in funding provided by the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) grant from NTIA.

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