Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Home ARIZONA WeCom takes first steps in fiber upgrade for Mohave County

WeCom takes first steps in fiber upgrade for Mohave County

Kingman-based telecommunications company WeCom joined other local internet companies last month in an announcement to county residents — Faster broadband service is coming.

WeCom is taking its next step toward fulfilling that promise with a federal grant proposal.

According to Arizona Commerce Authority officials, Mohave County could soon have the fastest broadband internet speeds in the state. And leading efforts to make that happen are Nebraska-based Allo Communications, Mohave Electric Cooperative and WeCom.

WeCom is seeking a letter of endorsement from the Mohave County Board of Supervisors as the company seeks additional funding under the U.S. Department of Commerce’s “Middle Mile” Broadband Infrastructure Grant.

The possible grant would be used to fund a new fiber connection form Las Vegas to Kingman, and to Wickenberg, ultimately leading to Phoenix along I-11.

A draft of the county’s pending letter of endorsement was made publicly available this week.

According to that letter, the proposed fiberoptic connection from Vegas to Kingman and Wickenberg would remedy known telecommunications “dead zones” on I-11, and expedite communication for emergency response teams in the area. WeCom has previously received $10 million in grant funding under the Arizona Governor’s Broadband Development Grant Program, to develop broadband infrastructure in rural areas of the county. Mohave County Manager Sam Elters touted the project in a Sept. 7 request for action to the county’s governing board.

“This project would be a huge benefit to the county by providing additional broadband services along the most dangerous section of highway in Arizona,” Elters said. “If awarded, the sum of the money that WeCom was already granted — to be used for smaller underserved areas — would be freed up to be used in other areas of the county. It will also provide great opportunities for law enforcement, public safety, businesses and so much more.”

WeCom has several ongoing projects in Mohave County, including the construction of more than one million feet of fiber optic cable surrounding Kingman Municipal Airport, and broadband infrastructure projects underway to service the area of Peach Springs.

And according to statements by WeCom owner Paul Fleming last month, the need for those services has continued to grow in rural Mohave County over the past several years.

And the company’s efforts to improve broadband infrastructure throughout the county will pay future dividends, Fleming said last month, with 70 new jobs soon to be available under WeComm, as well as opportunities for subcontractors and future other employees.

Ultimately, Fleming said its plan to expand broadband internet service throughout rural Mohave County will cost about $46 million within its first phase.

The Mohave County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to discuss and possibly approve the drafted letter of endorsement for WeCom’s grant proposal at the board’s next meeting today in Kingman.

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