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State project to bring high speed internet to rural S. AZ

Fiber optic lines to parallel I-19
Posted at 7:35 PM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 21:40:26-05

TUCSON, Ariz (KGUN) — Rural areas between Tucson and Nogales will be some of the first to get better internet service through a state program to lay high speed fiber optic lines along the interstate.

If you don’t have not just internet, but high speed internet you’re shut out of business opportunities, education, and a lot of the modern world. Now the Arizona Commerce Authority and ADOT are combining to add high speed connections—and opportunities to out of the way areas.

In the early days of the internet some called it the information superhighway now Arizona’s highways will bring high speed internet to rural areas. They already reach through most of the state so areas by the edge of those highways are a prime place for fiber optic cables able to carry high speed data.

Arizona has chosen I-19 between Tucson and Nogales as one of two roads to kick off the project. The other is I-17 in the northern part of the state.

That stretch of I-19 is a prime example of an area where high speed internet could open business opportunities and help enable services like telemedicine.

ADOT spokesperson Doug Nick says, “In tribal communities it's especially difficult and of course there are tribal communities in the I-19 area so we're looking forward to being a part of the effort to reach out and provide this to those underserved areas.”

Once the internet backbone goes in along the interstates, private service providers will offer connections from the main lines to businesses and homes.

Nick says, “So much of life is included in what we can do broadband that yeah, this is not only an economic generator, but it's also just a daily utility that just helps people in life in so many areas so that's what makes this so important.”

And the plan calls for those main lines to be ready for connections by early next year.

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