Arkansas Governor Announces $25 Million in Broadband Grant Funding
The Governor of Arkansas has announced “Arkansas Rural Connect,” a new $25 million grant program within the Arkansas State Broadband Office. Governor Hutchinson made the announcement while speaking to the Arkansas Sheriff’s Association in Rogers. The goal is to provide high-speed broadband to rural communities throughout Arkansas by 2022, as outlined in the State Broadband Plan released in May.
The Arkansas Rural Connect (ARC) program will provide grants to qualifying communities of at least 500 people to deploy high-speed broadband to its residents. The high-speed broadband must have a rate of at least 25 megabits per second for download and 3 megabits per second for upload (25/3).
“The long-term success of our economy will be determined by the resources our entrepreneurs have access to, and high-speed broadband is at the top of that list,” said Governor Hutchinson. “The Arkansas Rural Connect program is an important tool that will allow the state to assist our local communities with the critical funding necessary to reach our goal of statewide connectivity. I will be asking legislative approval for the $25 million broadband plan.”
Of this $25 million plan, the Arkansas Legislative Council is able to approve $5.7 million this year, and the balance will need to be appropriated in next year’s fiscal session.
The Regulatory Mix Today: Arkansas Governor Announces $25 Million in Broadband Grant Funding, FCC Eligible E-Rate Services, EAS Test Reminder
FCC Eligible E-Rate Services
The FCC is seeking comment on its proposed eligible services list (ESL) for the schools and libraries universal service support mechanism (E-Rate program) for funding year (FY) 2020. No substantive changes from the FY2019 ESL were proposed. However, the FCC noted that under the current rules, three Category Two services are only eligible for support through FY2019: managed internal broadband services, caching, and basic maintenance of internal connections. The FCC has proposed to extend the eligibility of these services. However, if it does not take action in the docket prior to adopting the FY2020 ESL funding for managed internal broadband services, caching, and basic maintenance of internal connections will only be available to entities still operating under their five-year Category Two budget cycles in FY2020. Accordingly, the proposed FY2020 ESL contains language under the section titled “Eligibility Limitations for Category Two” that explains the conditional eligibility of these services. Comments on the proposed FY2020 are due September 3, 3029; reply comments are due September 18, 2019.
Inteserra Briefing Service subscribers see Briefing dated 7/26/19.
EAS Test Reminder
The FCC and FEMA conducted a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. The nationwide test message was sent to radio and television stations beginning at 2:20 p.m. EDT. This was solely a test of alerting on radio and television. As such, the test did not include the Wireless Emergency Alert system, which sends alerts to cell phones. The test message originated from designated radio stations, known as Primary Entry Point stations, which participate in a component of IPAWS called the National Public Warning System. All other radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, wireline video providers, and satellite radio and television providers should have received and broadcasted the test message.
The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.