Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law led by Sinema and shaped by Kelly provides over $3 million for the University of Arizona’s “Connect Arizona Now” project that expands internet connectivity for rural and underserved communities
WASHINGTON – $3,051,875 will be invested in the University of Arizona’s “Connect Arizona Now: Digital Inclusion for Underserved Students and Communities of Southern Arizona” program from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law led by Senator Kyrsten Sinema and shaped by Senator Mark Kelly.
The program aims to address the need for broadband internet access and connectivity in rural, diverse, and underserved communities across Southern Arizona.
“In today’s digital era, Arizonans need reliable internet to access education, health care, and work. I’m proud that my infrastructure law is bringing broadband to rural and underserved parts of our state,” said Sinema, co-author and lead negotiator of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law.
“Rural communities in our state are still facing challenges when it comes to accessing high-speed internet. Whether it’s for telemedicine or to finish homework, this investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help us close the digital divide so Arizonans can continue to prosper,” said Kelly.
The University of Arizona’s “Connect Arizona Now” project will help close the digital divide among diverse, rural, underserved communities in Southern Arizona that lack reliable, high-speed broadband access. The project activities include creating “equipment bundles” (including hotspots, laptops, headphones, and webcams) that can be checked out by students, expanding University of Arizona network and classroom technologies, providing support personnel at education sites in rural communities, and more.
Sinema and Kelly’s bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law makes historic and sweeping investments in repairing and upgrading America’s critical infrastructure, including $65 billion to deploy high-speed broadband, expand broadband internet access, and help families afford broadband service. Specifically, the law invests over $14 billion to make internet more affordable and requires internet providers to offer a low-cost option to participate in federal broadband deployment funding. Following passage of the infrastructure law, the Federal Communications Commission established the Affordable Connectivity Program using the funding Sinema secured to help Arizonans access affordable internet. The program provides eligible families $30 a month toward their internet bills and $75 a month toward internet service in tribal areas.
Through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law, at least $100 million will be invested in Arizona to connect communities across the state to high-speed internet through broadband infrastructure improvements. Through the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, the Gila River Indian Community received a $4.4 million grant to assist in telehealth expansion, distance learning opportunities, affordable broadband service, and economic growth, and the Hopi Tribe received a $13.8 million grant to install fiber connecting over one thousand unserved Native American households, plus 18 businesses and 6 community anchor institutions.
Sinema led bipartisan Senate negotiations with Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio that included Senator Kelly and senators from both parties.
The bipartisan infrastructure law was supported by groups including The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, The National Association of Manufacturers, The AFL-CIO, The National Retail Federation, The Bipartisan Policy Center, North America’s Building Trades Unions, the Outdoor Industry Association, The American Hotel and Lodging Association, The National Education Association, as well as hundreds of mayors across all 50 states.