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Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday unveiled a four-year plan to vastly expand high-speed broadband service and connection speeds in a state that ranks last in wired internet.

The 77-page plan focuses on obtaining federal grants for internet service providers, or ISPs, to run wires to rural areas such as the Arkansas Delta, Ozark Mountains and southern timberlands. State maps show those areas lagging behind larger cities in terms of connectivity. Those maps, and the governor's report, also show that "substantial" parts of some urban areas, such as Little Rock and West Memphis, lack access to high-speed internet.

"Broadband has become so essential to the modern American way of life that government can’t be indifferent when people lack access to it," the introduction to the governor's plan states.

Arkansas ranks last among the states in access to wired broadband, according to the website BroadbandNow. While 92% of Americans as a whole have access to wired broadband, only about 75% of Arkansans have similar access.

J.R. Davis, a spokesman for the governor, said adopting a statewide broadband plan will aid ISPs that are applying for federal grants dedicated toward rural broadband. While the plan calls for coverage to be expanded to all population centers with more than 500 people, it will likely have broader effects, Davis said.

"If there's a smaller community [outside of town], they're going to be able to tap in as well because of the new lines that are being run out there," he said.

The Federal Communications Commission has set standard for minimum broadband speeds at 25 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads, and 3 Mbps for uploads.

Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Comments

  • MaxCady
    May 15, 2019 at 12:18 p.m.

    Great!! Let's get all those hillbillies up to speed on the Kardashians. Welcome to the 21st century.

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    May 15, 2019 at 12:47 p.m.

    Mr. Governer,
    do what you will but frequency weapons will not be permitted on U.S. soil.
    Know that today and yesterday and tomorrow the people of this Great State and the people of the nation have and are continuing to be educated on the dangers of frequency manipulation and weaponisation.
    Doctors against 5g. Is one such group.
    Mr. ATF Militarized Bank Clown Sargent. Do understand that We the People HAVE NO SUCH OBLIGATION to belabor under the taxation of free weaponisation and at no time will there EVER be a network of 5g broadcasters consuming cities, minds and human bodies.
    In Desert Storm 5G was found to be capable of heating water.
    More than that, the Japanese can now MAP a persons dream with the harmonic wave frequency observation and analytic.
    This is not tin foil. There has been imprint message "psychic" machines since the 6o's. Indeed there are government bought patents from Japan to Britain to U.S.A.
    It's time to wake up and face the LOGOS.

  • LRMarker
    May 15, 2019 at 2:24 p.m.

    This is not necessarily about people and celebrity news. Digital data is a powerful tool for land, water, animal, etc. management which makes internet-access-everywhere important. Kudos to the Governor! What is Barefoot’s meaning?

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    May 15, 2019 at 5:06 p.m.

    You sound like you dont even speak English.
    Make a cognizant sentence yourself fool.
    You wont impoverish me.

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    May 15, 2019 at 5:07 p.m.

    "we gotta have the laser beams to save the wildlife"
    thats so weak.
    you must be expecting to find a bunch of hillbillies slavering for online porn.

  • Popsmith
    May 15, 2019 at 5:19 p.m.

    When telegraph wires were strung across the country, naysayers said that the wires would spread disease from town to town and everyone would perish.

  • RBear
    May 15, 2019 at 5:45 p.m.

    popsmith we agree on this one. No idea what barefoot is ranting about. Some days I wish he wouldn't skip his meds.

  • tabr
    May 15, 2019 at 5:47 p.m.

    As always let the market determine, not government dollars. Cell phone technology will make hardwire solutions moot or something else will. If you don’t like where you live move. I don’t have Uber here or the symphony. Maybe I deserve both.

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    May 15, 2019 at 5:59 p.m.

    Fiber optics is fine.
    You want to start talking ultrasonic frequencies. I'll be happy to school you, as simply calling someone a bumpkin or "ignorant" to fit your sordid but slanted and yet slight repertoire of understanding.
    5G kills by cancer and all sorts of other DNA breaking methods. You should even turn your cell-phone off and modem off at bedtime.
    Doctors against 5G

  • ZeebronZ
    May 15, 2019 at 7:33 p.m.

    Arkansas is 20 years behind the rest of the country in getting this new-fangled internet fad in place. Now, with Asa's help, it's 24 years behind.

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