Federal funds to help Mississippi expand internet access

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RIDGELAND, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi-based technology company plans to install more than 33 miles of underground fiber infrastructure that will help offer ultra-fast broadband internet access to rural areas by the end of the year.

C Spire announced the project last week for parts of Hinds, Madison, Amite and Pike counties, The Vicksburg Post reported.

The company says 20 miles of that project will include areas of Highway 27 between Utica and the Warren County line, and Highway 18 southwest of Raymond. The project will provide broadband internet access to 157 homes along the route.

C Spire was one of 19 recipients of a total of $75 million in federal grant funds under the Mississippi Broadband COVID-19 program. The program is designed to help residents and businesses in unserved or underserved areas of the state get fast, reliable internet access in 2020. Each recipient is required to match 50 percent of the overall cost of their individual project.

“Our current public health crisis has shown that Mississippians are in critical need of fast, reliable, symmetric broadband internet service,” said C Spire CEO Hu Meena. “This program will help get more broadband in more places more quickly by relying on public-private partnerships to expand the availability of high-quality, symmetric internet access.”

After installing the infrastructure, officials said the company plans to begin offering services by the end of December.

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