Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a news conference on Friday morning at a state college in Hardee County, where he announced a remarkable $4 million award for a broadband access project. This announcement was just a preview of the hundreds of millions of dollars that will be allocated for similar efforts across the state. The state government views this investment as a crucial step in expanding rural broadband access.
Governor DeSantis revealed that a total of $223 million will be distributed among 54 projects in 33 counties across Florida. Out of this amount, at least $135 million will be provided through the state’s Broadband Opportunity Program, while an additional $86 million will come from the federal Multipurpose Community Facilities Projects program. The governor emphasized the magnitude of this investment, stating that the total funding for 234 projects in 63 Florida counties will reach nearly $700 million.
The $4 million award announced during the news conference was specifically designated for the Hardee County Technology Economic Development and Workforce Training Hub project in Wauchula. This project aims to enhance technological infrastructure and promote economic development in the area.
The news conference, held at South Florida State College’s Hardee campus, featured not only Governor DeSantis but also State Secretary of Commerce J. Alex Kelly. Secretary Kelly emphasized the positive impact that these awards will have, stating that they will benefit approximately 300,000 residences, schools, and businesses. The awards will particularly benefit rural and remote communities, as well as urban areas, by providing crucial internet access for educational and professional purposes.
Secretary Kelly highlighted the personal significance of these awards, as they will enable students to complete their homework, individuals to apply for jobs, and businesses to thrive in the digital age. He emphasized that the Department of Commerce’s collaboration with grant programs is a testament to the power of community partnerships.
It is worth noting that South Florida State College is part of the Florida College System, which recently faced restrictions on the use of public funds for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs. The Florida Board of Education also replaced the course “Principles of Sociology” with a general U.S. history course in order to provide students with an accurate and factual account of the nation’s past. Similar changes were implemented in public universities across the state.
In addition to the broadband access project announcement, Governor DeSantis also made headlines on Thursday by announcing that the Florida National Guard and State Guard would be deployed to Texas to address what he called an invasion at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Overall, the substantial investment in broadband access projects is expected to bring about significant improvements in connectivity throughout Florida. The governor’s dedication to expanding internet access will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on residents, businesses, and educational institutions across the state.