Photo: Supervisor Lee Caldwell speaks to those gathered at a community meeting about high-speed internet in DeSoto County Friday in Hernando. (DeSoto County Government/Facebook)
DeSoto County is moving forward with getting more areas of the county connected to high-speed internet after a meeting and tour of the county with Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi (BEAM) director Sally Doty on Friday.
Doty came to the county for a community meeting held to learn more about the need for broadband expansion in unincorporated areas of DeSoto County and then was taken on a tour with County Supervisor Lee Caldwell of addresses that don’t have internet access and others missing from the Broadband Map of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The County is working with Doty’s office to make sure the Broadband Map has every home in the county listed on it.
The county’s budget has up to $10 million available in American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, funds to use to help subsidize making those areas internet-accessible. Doty spoke at the community meeting about the funding available for broadband projects and the initiative at the state level to map service in the Magnolia State.
The Board of Supervisors has entered into agreements for internet service providers (ISP) to offer service in specific areas of rural DeSoto County when high-speed internet now does not exist.
AT&T was selected to cover the Eudora, Walls/Nesbit, and Hernando South area, C-Spire will cover Lewisburg and the Bankston Road area, and Uplink Internet will provide high-speed internet to the Delta region. Each ISP submitted proposals detailing the technology, cost, and timeline to provide broadband access to more than 3,500 unserved and underserved residences. All three internet companies will begin on the broadband expansion as soon as the contracts are finalized.
The first customers could be joining the broadband community within nine months – with completion of all installations expected within 24-30 months.
The BEAM Office is asking people to take the two-minute speed test at https://broadbandms.com or text/call 601-439-2535 if you have no service.