TUCSON–The Arizona Commerce Authority has announced its 2022 Arizona Broadband Development Grant recipients, awarding $5 million to Cox Communications to bring multi-gigabit, symmetrical services to Three Points, Robles Junction and Sycamore Springs via an all-fiber network utilizing state-of-the-art technology. The total cost of this public-private expansion program is $12.7 million, with a 60% financial match coming from Cox ($5.1 million) and Pima County ($2.5 million) and will provide nearly 1,400 underserved homes and businesses with robust, high-speed internet service.
The expansion across 100+ miles of Cox network will also provide internet services to the Altar Valley School District. Cox’s fiber-to-the-premises network expansion is part of a multibillion-dollar annual infrastructure investment Cox is making over the next several years to build a 10-Gigabit capable, fiber-based network that will power the next generation of internet users.
In addition to its financial investment, Cox will provide the following additional investments in the communities valued at $175,000:
· A Cox Innovation Center, which will host computers, printers and the latest technology for student learning (location TBD).
· Digital equity support through the distribution of 100 devices and low-cost internet service for qualified residents.
· Production support and ad placement with Cox Media, which includes the production of a long-form video to promote digital equity.
The project is expected to be completed within twenty-four months.
Pima County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bronson, District 3, says, “This broadband expansion is critical for long-term well-being. Our society is increasingly dependent on online activity and those without Internet connectivity struggle in many different facets of life. The residents of rural Pima County will experience significant growth of economic and educational opportunities as a result of network improvements.”
Cox will begin engineering, construction design and necessary permitting for this fiber-based network and will be working with local, state, and federal agencies to obtain necessary approvals. Residents in Three Points, Robles Junction and Sycamore Springs will soon see work commencing in their community and residents in new build areas can visit https://www.cox.com/getfiber to express interest in Cox services.
“Connectivity is at the heart of everything we do. We applaud Pima County for having the leadership to help build this best-in-class public-private partnership that ensures that residents in these communities are not left behind. Together we can address unserved and underserved areas in Pima County, to bring new opportunities to the residents and businesses in Three Points, Robles Junction and Sycamore Springs,” said Percy Kirk, Senior Vice President and Southwest Regional Manager, Cox Communications.
“Today there are families in the Altar Valley School District that have no access to broadband at home,” said Dr. David Dumon, Superintendent of Altar Valley School District. “While others may have access, the options are at a very high cost and only available at low speeds. We know that in order for students and families to be successful, they must have affordable high-speed broadband options, which will help increase educational and economic opportunities.”
Cox will make every effort to minimize the construction impact where and when possible and will communicate the expansion and progress of their work with residents through local media, and direct communications from Cox.
Building upon its longstanding efforts to bridge the digital divide, Cox is committing more than $400M over the next three years to expand its footprint to reach underserved and rural communities across the country. Cox has already committed more than $75M to date to expand to Arizona communities including Arizona City, the City of Maricopa, San Manuel, Oracle, Black Canyon City, Congress, Huachuca City, Sun Lakes, SE Sierra Vista, Eloy, Toltec, Desert Hills, Wickenburg, Douglas and Summit View.
With this network expansion, more families in Pima County will have access to Cox digital equity programs, Connect2Compete and ConnectAssist, that make access to broadband affordable. Both programs are available to qualifying, low-income, households and provide access to necessary equipment, digital training, and cyber protection, along with a low-priced, 100 mbps broadband connection. Cox also is a participant in the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which enables qualified households to lower their broadband bills by $30 per month and $75 per month in Tribal Lands, allowing many customers under Cox’s digital equity programs to receive free broadband service.