Desoto County News

County receives $5.47 million in state funding for high-speed internet

Gov. Tate Reeves this week announced that the Office of Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi (BEAM) has approved 24 broadband infrastructure projects to be funded by the Capital Projects Fund (CPF). It brings broadband internet to many areas of the state that had previously not had access before.

Areas of DeSoto County are included among those that will benefit by the funding that has been released.  

County officials will celebrate the BEAM allocation of more than $5.47 million in Capital Project Fund (CPF) grants for projects that are a part of the DeSoto County Broadband Connectivity Program on July 1 at 2 p.m.  BEAM Director Sally Doty is expected to be a keynote speaker with other speakers expected to be participating.  

“We’re working hard to expand broadband infrastructure to all corners of Mississippi,” said Reeves. “Digital infrastructure is redefining our economy, and we want to ensure every Mississippian has reliable broadband access. These projects will be critical to our state’s efforts and I look forward to seeing the positive impact that they will have on Mississippi.”

In DeSoto County, the state money will help AT&T and C Spire bring broadband to unserved areas. A breakdown of the CPF awards for DeSoto County has approximately $3.49 million for AT&T areas and $2.25 million for C Spire areas.  The entire state allocation is $70.9 million in grant funding and about 27,000 households in the 19 counties across the state will be serviced.  

County officials said 3,520 addresses were listed in contracts for the DeSoto County Broadband Connectivity Program (BCP) in January 2023 and as of June 17, 2,127 of those addresses had high-speed internet access.  New customers are being added and the county is on track for fiber internet by the end of the year for nearly everyone.

“I am excited to witness the culmination of 12 years of unwavering dedication to bringing high-speed internet to our entire county,” said Board of Supervisors president Lee Caldwell. “This journey has been filled with challenges, but my vision to reach those who would otherwise remain disconnected has never wavered.”

“You don’t realize how vital the internet is to daily living – until you don’t have internet,” added District 2 Supervisor Mark Gardner. “My children and grandchildren live at one of the 3,520 addresses that don’t have access to the internet. They, and their neighbors, are hopeful to get internet access by the fall.  It wouldn’t be possible if not for the partnership with internet providers and grants from the Board of Supervisors and the State Broadband Office.”

The Broadband Connectivity Program webpage has a map that shows those areas of DeSoto County with and those without high-speed internet service.