Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Spectrum, Gov. John Bel Edwards, area leaders break ground on broadband network

by BIZ Magazine

Gov. John Bel Edwards and other community leaders joined Spectrum officials Tuesday, Feb. 14, to break ground on construction of a fiber-optic network buildout that will ultimately bring gigabit broadband and other services to more than 500 homes and small businesses in Livingston Parish.

“Despite recent programs, there are still so many people across the state who do not have access to a reliable and affordable internet connection,” said Gov. Edwards. “Spectrum’s buildout in Livingston Parish is ringing affordable high speed connectivity to rural, unserved communities through the Granting Unserved Municipalities Broadband Opportunities (GUMBO) broadband program. This partnership is a step toward improving health outcomes, growing our economy, and enhancing quality of life for so many Louisianans.”

To help celebrate the project groundbreaking and advance the community’s digital literacy efforts, Spectrum donated $6,000 and 15 laptops to the Southeastern Livingston Center, whose mission is to improve the level of education and quality of life for the citizens of Livingston Parish.

“Livingston Parish is one of the fastest growing parishes in the state and the south,” said U.S. Rep. Garret Graves. “It is critical that infrastructure maintain pace with this growth — which is why utilizing federal funds in collaboration with Livingston Parish, Charter and the state is so important. Students, families and businesses will soon experience superior Internet connections and speeds that will provide the tools and tech to make them prepared, efficient and productive.”

Through ConnectLA, Louisiana’s Office of Broadband Development & Connectivity, Spectrum was recently awarded a GUMBO grant of $1.73 million. Spectrum has committed to invest an additional $1.25 million to extend its broadband network in the parish, bringing total investment in the Livingston Parish project to almost $3 million.

“We’ve seen unprecedented investments that are resulting in efficient and expeditious deployment of high-speed internet access to our most rural pockets of Louisiana,” said state Rep. Buddy Mincey. “Today, we celebrate breaking ground on Spectrum’s public-private partnership with the state to advance broadband connectivity in Livingston Parish.”

Rep. Mincey worked with the Livingston Parish Council to create the Link Up LIVINGston Committee, which has played an instrumental role leading up to this groundbreaking event. The Committee worked with providers to bring broadband infrastructure investment into Livingston Parish, as well as with other entities to provide digital literacy opportunities.

The Livingston Parish GUMBO grant is one of three awarded to Spectrum to expand fiber-optic broadband infrastructure to areas of the state that currently lack access to high-speed connections. Thus far, Spectrum has received $10 million in GUMBO grants to help connect more than 2,100 homes and small businesses across three Louisiana Parishes.

“Broadband is a vital resource for work, learning and personal connection,” said Tony Sieiro, Spectrum Area Vice President in Louisiana. “Through ConnectLA and GUMBO grants, Spectrum will join with Louisiana to bring broadband and more to thousands of families and small businesses across the state — leveraging our capability as the state’s largest broadband provider to further close the digital divide.”

In Louisiana, Spectrum employs nearly 300 residents and serves 163,000 customers in 45 communities. The company operates its largest employment centers in Slidell, Hammond and Thibodaux.

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