The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) recently approved five new broadband projects in Mississippi. These projects are in addition to Mississippi’s seven other BIP projects that are already in various stages of completion.
In 2022, the state of Mississippi was awarded over $32 million for the Broadband Infrastructure Program (BIP) to be overseen by the Office of Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi (BEAM). With the new projects, BEAM anticipates the funds to allow service providers to reach a total of 8,416 households that do not have access to high-speed internet.
“The state of Mississippi is expanding broadband to all corners of the state,” said Gov. Tate Reeves. “This investment will further our longstanding efforts to connect Mississippians regardless of their zip code or location. I look forward to seeing the positive impact these projects will have on our state.”
“BEAM is proud of the hard work of the service providers that have applied for this funding and are willing to complete these projects on such a short timeline,” said Sally Doty, Director of BEAM. The original projects approved by NTIA in 2022 and the five new projects approved in late September must all be completed by September 2024.
The five new projects will provide service to 2,579 households and 44 businesses across areas of Lincoln County (Bude and Lower Meadville Rd), Pearl River County (Poplarville) and Tunica County (the communities of Clack and Fish Camp).
The seven original projects will serve 5,837 households and 255 businesses in Calhoun, Coahoma, Covington, Issaquena, Lincoln, Madison and Smith counties. The project in Covington County is now approximately 60% complete. The Coahoma County project is now approximately 50% complete and has already begun home installations for customers along the route. The remaining projects are in the final stages of environmental review and construction will begin as soon as these prerequisites are completed.
This $32.7 million in BIP funding is only one of the investments in Mississippi broadband that is to be administered by the BEAM office. Currently BEAM is reviewing applications for the $151 million Capital Projects Fund (CPF), with initial awards expected to be announced in the fall, and BEAM is currently preparing to administer the $1.2 billion in funding provided by the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) grant from NTIA. BEAM is also responsible for overseeing the State Digital Skills and Accessibility program.