Citrus County to Benefit from State Broadband Grants
Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis announced $60 million in awards through the Broadband Opportunity Program to expand broadband Internet access in Florida’s unserved communities. Included in that amount is $1,245,500 for approximately 300 miles of fiber optic cable which will provide almost 5,000 unserved locations within Citrus County with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 1 GB. This expansion will impact unserved and underserved residential, educational, agricultural, business and community locations, and represents a significant investment by the State of Florida towards improving broadband accessibility in Citrus County.
Administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), the Broadband Opportunity Program funds the installation and deployment of broadband Internet infrastructure in unserved Florida communities, providing valuable access to telehealth, economic, educational, and workforce development opportunities to offer a brighter future for all Floridians. The funds will be distributed directly to the internet service providers who applied for the grant and used to implement the necessary infrastructure, including the installation of fiber optic cables, and network equipment.
“By extending broadband infrastructure, this project aims to provide reliable and high-speed internet connectivity to residents, enhancing their quality of life and economic opportunities,” said Todd Dunn, Citrus County’s Chief Information Officer.
The availability of broadband access is increasingly essential for everyday activities such as education, healthcare, remote work, business growth, and social interaction. The DEO Broadband Opportunity Grant will greatly contribute to leveling the playing field, ensuring that residents in previously underserved areas have equal access to these opportunities.
Access to high-speed internet will enable students to participate fully in online learning, bridging the digital divide and improving educational outcomes. It will also enhance telehealth services, enabling residents to access medical professionals remotely, reducing barriers to healthcare and improving overall well-being and quality of life for some of our most vulnerable citizens. In addition, the increased connectivity will empower local businesses, entrepreneurs, and job seekers by providing them with the tools and resources necessary for success in a digital economy.
Additionally, efforts will be made to maximize the longevity and scalability of the broadband infrastructure, ensuring long-term benefits for the community. The scale of the infrastructure will be able to support the explosive growth Citrus County is anticipating with the extension of the Suncoast Parkway.
“Broadband expansion in Citrus County is no longer a want, but a need,” said County Administrator Steve Howard. “This announcement represents a significant step towards addressing the broadband access challenges faced by residents.”
“This investment will bring about a transformative change by providing high-speed internet connectivity to previously underserved areas, benefiting residents, businesses, and the overall community,” he stated.
To document poor quality or no service can take an online speed test that will document the property location by going to: https://expressoptimizer2.net/public/index.php. For additional information, please visit www.citrusbocc.com/broadband.