Major Investments Are Being Made in Rural Broadband in Louisiana | News

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“Louisiana’s Internet and TV industry is investing in Louisiana and expanding access and opportunity across the state,” said Lauren Chauvin, executive director of LCTA.

LCTA – The Internet & Television Association is delighted to announce that its members have submitted applications for rural broadband projects worth more than $169 million in 29 parishes for the first round of the program of grants from the Louisiana Unserved Municipalities Broadband Opportunity Fund (GUMBO).

High speed internet is vital in today’s world. GUMBO is a program administered by the ConnectLA Louisiana office. GUMBO offers grants to companies that provide high-speed Internet access to unserved and underserved areas at affordable prices for at least five years. These providers must also match at least 20% of the funds granted. On average, the first round of applicants corresponds to 40% of the funds granted.

“The volume of applications we’ve received and the enthusiasm for broadband is tremendous,” says ConnectLA Executive Director Veneeth Iyengar, “we can’t close the digital divide by 2029 without great partners from industry”.

The GUMBO Fund, drafted by Rep. Deshotel (R-Avoyelles), was signed into law during the 2021 ordinary legislative session. In March, prices will be announced and construction will begin as early as May.

“I’m so proud to see all the partnerships between local governments and private companies during the bidding process,” said Rep. Deshotel. “When I started working on this fund, I knew it was a unique opportunity for the people of Louisiana. Although I know we had a limited window of opportunity, I’m proud of the enthusiasm shown by industry applicants. This is a big step forward in making broadband accessible to all Louisiana citizens.

“Private industry has grown strongly and we are excited about their investment in Louisiana,” said House Commerce Committee chair Paula Davis (R-Baton Rouge). “This is a tremendous economic development opportunity for Louisiana.”

The mission of LCTA – The Internet & Television Association is to provide leadership, direction, and a focal point for ideas of common interest so that those ideas can grow into beneficial projects for members and the general public. This will be accomplished by coordinating and directing efforts in the following areas: effective representation in legislative and regulatory bodies at the state and federal levels; providing continuing education and exchange of information/ideas to members regarding consumer and industry issues; and develop and maintain key local, state, and national relationships to promote the mutual benefit of LCTA members.

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