© 2024 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Rural communities across Tampa Bay are getting funds to boost internet

An open laptop and a cup of coffee
iStock
Several rural communities across the greater Tampa Bay region will receive $29 million in funding to help boost their broadband internet access.

They will receive nearly $28.9 million to lay fiber optic cable and improve their broadband infrastructure. Highlands County is getting more than $17.3 million.

Several rural communities across the greater Tampa Bay region will receive nearly $29 million in funding to help boost their broadband internet access.

In a news release Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced more than $247 million will be distributed across the state as part of the Broadband Infrastructure Program.

ALSO READ: While rural counties try to expand their internet access, Hardee is already ahead of the pack

More than 59,000 businesses, homes, farms, and institutions including libraries and hospitals will receive the funds, which will be used lay fiber optic cable to increase internet download speeds, and to improve their broadband infrastructure.

“High-speed broadband Internet is important infrastructure for Florida communities and will generate economic development activity and a talented labor force,” DeSantis said in the release. “Florida is proud to make investments in broadband Internet infrastructure that will benefit all Floridians and make long-term impacts in communities across the state.”

Highlands County will receive the largest chunk in the Tampa Bay area, with more than $17 million, followed by DeSoto with nearly $8.6 million.

Here is a breakdown:

DeSoto County

  • Unincorporated areas of Arcadia/East and Pine Level – $2,550,000 
  • Cities of Arcadia and Hull – $3,490,000
  • Unincorporated community of Nocatee – $2,600,000 

Hardee County

  • City of Wauchula and unincorporated areas around Wauchula and the areas of Ona and Limestone – $323,000
  • City of Wauchula and unincorporated areas around Wauchula, town of Zolfo Springs and the area of Gardner – ($1,185,000) to add 163.77 miles of fiber optic

Hernando County

  • Unincorporated community of Spring Lake – $29,078

Highlands County

  • City of Sebring – $10,512,009.74 
  • Community of Crystal Lake – ($4,700,358.31) 
  • Cities of Avon Park and Sebring and the town of Lake Placid – $2,100,000 

Sarasota County

  • Unincorporated town of Nokomis and unincorporated area of Englewood – $743,022
  • Myakka State Park – $705,088.35

The additional funds follows a May announcement that areas across the greater Tampa Bay region were among communities across the state that would receive $60 million through the program.

I wasn't always a morning person. After spending years as a nighttime sports copy editor and page designer, I made the move to digital editing in 2000. Turns out, it was one of the best moves I've ever made.