U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today announced $3.35 million to expand mobile broadband coverage along 2,100 miles of highway in five Central Louisiana parishes. The funding is from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) first "Mobility Fund" auction.
Cellular One, LLC, based in Alexandria, won the bid to expand wireless broadband along more than 2,100 miles of I-49 and major roads in Grant, Natchitoches, Rapides, Sabine and Vernon parishes.
"These funds will provide Louisianians who live, work and travel along Central Louisiana's major roads faster and more reliable mobile Internet and also support job creation and enhanced public safety," Sen. Landrieu said. "It's no longer enough for businesses and towns to be located along a river, railroad or highway. To be truly competitive in today's global economy your community must be on the Internet superhighway. With these upgrades to local infrastructure, Louisiana businesses will be able to reach new customers, and residents will be connected faster than ever to libraries, hospitals and other resources around the world."
Phase One of the FCC Mobility Fund is designed to use $300 million in savings from cutting waste and inefficiency to help close gaps in mobile coverage across the United States. As a result of the auction, new mobile infrastructure deployment will begin in 31 states with areas that currently lack access to 3G or 4G mobile service. In total, up to 83,000 new U.S. road miles on which millions of Americans live, work, or travel will gain access to advanced mobile networks that significantly enhance opportunities for jobs, education, healthcare and public safety.
"Today's announcement reinforces Cellular One's commitment to the Central Louisiana community and demonstrates that Cellular One is making Central Louisiana its top priority," Cellular One EVP and Chief Financial Officer Daniel E. Hopkins said. "Cellular One's 4G network will allow residents and businesses in these rural areas to enjoy the same quality of service that is available in urban areas throughout the country. Expanding our 4G network to rural areas of Central Louisiana will also allow all Cellular One customers to experience the highest quality wireless service while enjoying the many recreational and outdoor activities that rural Louisiana has to offer."
A parish-by-parish breakdown of miles of road to receive upgraded wireless broadband follows:
Grant Parish: 34.59 miles; $250,003.02
Natchitoches Parish: 492.51 miles; $859,389.21
Rapides Parish: 235.4 miles; $465,395.80
Sabine Parish: 364 miles; $598,784.54
Vernon Parish: 1,001 miles; $1,182,777.46