Sumter County is using COVID-19 relief money to pay for rural broadband access.
Sumter County and Charter Communications Inc. signed a public-private partnership agreement at the Sumter County Board of County Commissioners meeting on May 10. The agreement will provide access to a fiber broadband network capable of providing up to 1000Mbps downloads and 500 Mbps upload speeds to approximately 3,600 addresses countywide.
The addresses targeted are located throughout Sumter County in areas such as Croom-A- Coochee, Tarrytown, Mabel, Lake Panasoffkee, Adamsville, Tillman Hammock, Oxford and others. Some of these locations are adjacent to areas already served by providers including Charter Communications; However, these addresses were identified as having either no broadband access (unserved) or no access to minimally acceptable speeds of 25 / 3Mbps (underserved). In addition to high-speed internet access, they will have the option of mobile, TV and voice services through Charter’s Spectrum brand.
“Spectrum continues to invest millions across the country to extend its gigabit broadband network to communities that have no broadband access,” said Paul Hanson, Regional Vice President of Field Operations for Florida. “Our partnership with Sumter County is a prime example of how we’re working with local governments to effectively leverage Charter’s existing infrastructure and pair exclusive of the federally-funded Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) expansion already underway in the state with county-defined. projects to help reach full broadband access across Florida. ”
The broadband expansion project is expected to take about two years to construct, but must be completed within approximately four years as part of the rules associated with the county’s use of the funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.