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City votes to pursue Broadband grant, serve as provider

The Blountstown City Council voted in special session last Tuesday night to pursue a Community Connect Grant from USDA to offer broadband in a 30-mile radius. Cherie Mayorga, who co-owns CompuNet Technical Services is Blountstown with her husband, Julio, has followed the Rural Broadband Project since inception. “CompuNet Technical Services believes the City of Blountstown will profit by applying for the Community Connect Grant,” she remarks. “The grant will allow free internet for Critical Community Facilities such public schools or education centers, public library, public medical clinics, hospitals, law enforcement, fire and ambulance stations, for two years. Also the grant will provide a Community Center for free public internet for the public for two years. This Community Connect Grant is funds to build and maintain Broadband for two years.” One of the biggest benefits is the revenue the service could bring to the City of Blountstown. “The city can be a provider for internet through broadband just like they are for the power here in Blountstown,” Mayorga explains. “This would allow the City to make revenue from providing internet to residents and businesses at a competitive price. Plus, the local jobs it will make. With broadband, the speeds and reliability are far greater than any exciting internet out there today and can be offered at a competitive price.” The news came on the heels of an announcement from Opportunity Florida about broadband coming to our region. Opportunity Florida and its Florida Rural Broadband Alliance(FRBA) recently closed on the purchase of five acres of property owned by the Maurice Partrick family and a communications tower near Clarksville, Florida, as one of the initial steps toward the construction of the FRBA broadband network. The network, made possible through a federal National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA) grant to Opportunity Florida and its sister organization, the Florida Rural Heartland Economic Development Initiative, will provide enhanced data and communication access to local communities, businesses, schools, hospitals and public agencies.

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