Governor Hutchinson and the General Assembly have made broadband a top priority. Arkansas Rural Connect (ARC) is a grant program designed to expand the broadband footprint in rural Arkansas communities. Broadband is an essential infrastructure that will allow Arkansans to compete in today’s digital economy, enhance healthcare outcomes through telemedicine, and improve education.

The ARC program will distribute at least $4.7 million in grants to partnerships between localities and internet service providers. These grants will help close the business case to provide 25/3 Mbps broadband to areas that lack a reliable, high-speed connection.

For Round 1 of Arkansas Rural Connect, the following deadlines will apply:

Request for Applications released: April 27, 2020

Coverage maps due from Internet Service Providers: May 15, 2020

Statewide coverage maps for eligibility released: June 1, 2020. See here: https://broadband.arkansas.gov/ar-rural-connect/targeted-areas/

Applications can be submitted until all funds are expended. As a reminder, the CARES Act requires that the infrastructure must be deployed prior to December 30, 2020.