‘It’d be nice to get upgraded service’: Multiple rural towns across NCFL are receiving funding for internet access

More than $20 million in funds is coming to North Central Florida.
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 11:46 PM EDT
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OCALA Fla. (WCJB) - The State’s Broadband Opportunity Program is bringing high speed internet to rural parts of North Central Florida.

Governor Ron Desantis announced $60 million in awards to be distributed amongst 41 counties in the state. More than 20 million of that amount is coming to North Central Florida.

RELATED: NCFL communities get millions in funding for rural broadband

Some said getting high-speed internet in rural areas can be difficult. “It’s been pretty off and on and horrible for the last 16 years with century link,” shared resident from Anthony, John Crawford.

Residents of Marion Oaks, Ocklawaha and Silver Springs will benefit from nearly $2.5 million and 122 miles of fiber optic cables. The cables are meant to increase internet speeds for residents and businesses.

Some residents told TV20 have two internet providers in their household to increase their internet speed. David White, who lives in Silver Springs, hopes the funding will help ease some issues in his neighborhood.

“Sometimes it’s tough if we have an emergency situation,” shared White. “I had one just recently when my wife had to go to the hospital and I couldn’t get through. So, in the meantime I have to walk up the road to get reception. You feel kind of feel left out because everybody else gets good reception, but you don’t.”

Anthony, Reddick and McIntosh would receive 701 miles of cable. Communities in Levy, Dixie and Bradford county are also getting $5,000,000 for broadband access.

“I feel like that’s going to help the community,” shared White. “It’s going to help everyone that is involved in all the areas around because it’s key that we have this communication.”

The Broadband Opportunity Program was created by Florida Legislature and appropriated $400 million in federally funded State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) to increase access to reliable, affordable, and high-speed internet service within the state. The funds are part of the American Rescue Plan Act.

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