Parts of Rapides Parish expecting major broadband expansion
Residents of Woodworth hear plans for internet service
WOODWORTH LA. (KALB) - Certain areas in Rapides Parish are set to expand access for reliable high-speed internet. A GUMBO grant (Granting Unserved Municipalities Broadband Options) was awarded to Optimum, the company formerly known as Suddenlink.
The grant allows the rollout of more locations to receive better access. On Thursday, Sept. 15, the residents of Woodworth heard the plan of how that one-million-dollar grant will be used. One thousand locations are being addressed for this wave of help for Rapides Parish.
Residents in places like Alexandria, Boyce and Hineston can also expect to be included in the expansion. Nearly 1.5 million people across Louisiana currently do not have access to high-speed broadband internet due to affordability, literacy or a device problem. Veneeth Iyengar is the executive director of Connect Louisiana, and he fully expects to start bridging that gap within the next year.
“In the next 12 months, Optimum says they are going to start building in 1,015 locations in the Woodworth area, and in Sabine Parish, it was over 3,000 locations,” Iyengar said. “So, they have committed to building in those locations in the 12-month period and to build high-speed fiber optic connectivity to the location, whether small businesses or households. So we’re going to hold them to it through our grant agreement that they are going to build in 12 months, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
The total cost of the project is 4.3 million dollars, with 70 percent of the funds being provided by Optimum.
The goal is to get the project done in the next year. It is a move Woodworth Mayor David Butler said will be big for the town.
“It’s one of the greatest things to come to Woodworth, and the future of Woodworth and the way we growing, it’s just a must with our schools,” Mayor Butler said. “We got a bank coming. We got all kinds of businesses coming. It’s just a must. People are moving out here. We got 14 homes under construction. We got to move forward and get it done. We are going to be a whole lot better off a year from now than we are now.”
In total, Louisiana received more than 26 million dollars in GUMBO grant funds. This is just one of several projects in the pipeline to provide better internet:
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