Block Island Times

Town explores federal funding for Island-wide broadband project

There may be some federal monies available for the island-wide high speed internet project.
Town Finance Director Amy Land provided the Town Council with a synopsis of the Broadband Committee’s possible participation in the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.
Unanticipated factors during the COVID-19 lockdown, including the fact that Block Island School students started online learning back in March, only heightened the need for better broadband service throughout the town.
It was back in December that the council approved the Broadband Committee’s request to enter into contract discussions with Sertex, the company that will design and build the broadband infrastructure.
“At that point you authorized us to move forward in our conversations with Sertex and Crocker [Communications]. We spent that time working on refining the design, the pricing structure, and the final numbers. During that time, it became clear to a lot of people how critical this project is to the island,” Land told the council at its June 22 meeting. “The sense of urgency has only increased since then. At the same time, a new funding opportunity has arrived and that’s through the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund…” Land said that this program could provide

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