Supervisor Irwin, Governor Hobbs attend fiber internet groundbreaking

La Paz County Supervisor Holly Irwin and Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs were among those who attended the groundbreaking of Wecom’s fiber internet project in Kingman on Tuesday. Wecom was the recipient of the largest broadband internet grant to establish high speed fiber internet service in La Paz and Mohave Counties to around 32,500 households.

The inequity between those with good, affordable access to broadband internet and those without has become a focus of most state governments and the federal government in recent years. In 2022, the Kingman-based internet provider Wecom was awarded $10 million to bring high-speed internet to La Paz and Mohave Counties in an ambitious project that will total $54 million over 8 phases beginning in January with a plan to be finished by summer 2025.

Wecom CEO Paul Fleming visited the La Paz County Board of Supervisors this week to give an update on the project, telling the Board that the plan calls for 1,271 poles and 1.8 million feet of fiber optic cable. Fleming said that 8,400 of 9,500 homes in La Paz County do not have access to adequate broadband services, and their service will change that.

According to a map sent by representatives of Wecom to Parker Live, the La Paz County service area will include the town of Parker, the Parker Strip, Quartzsite, Highways 95, 72 and 60, Vicksburg, Brenda, Salome, Bouse and Parker South.

“Rural Arizona deserves and requires the same reliable, high-speed Internet available in big cities,” said Chairwoman Holly Irwin of the La Paz County Board of Supervisors. “We are pleased to work with Wecom in supporting this broadband expansion, which will improve economic opportunity and the quality of life across western Arizona.”

“We are on track to bridge Arizona’s deep digital divide with this historic investment, connecting unserved and under-served Arizonans, especially in tribal and rural communities,” said Governor Katie Hobbs. “As the reliance on digital services increases, it’s critical that we ensure our people, businesses, and community services are capable of handling the demand, and I am laser focused on getting that done.”

Phase 1 of the project is expected to begin in January 2024.

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