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City of Bliss awarded $840,000 broadband grant

“It’s just overall, beneficial to the citizens in this area”
Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 4:47 PM MDT
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BLISS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - The City of Bliss is a recipient of an $840,000 broadband grant that will be used to increase internet connectivity for underserved and unserved areas of the city. The funds come from the CARES act and the Coronavirus Financial Advisory Committee.

“With a lot of our smaller businesses, if they don’t have access to better connectivity and broadband they’ll essentially get a lost sale, a lost connection," said Ervina Covcic, a rural specialist with Southern Idaho Economic Development. "We’ve had so many of these small businesses let us know that is the direct impact of the lack of connectivity,”

With COVID-19 forcing working from home and distance learning, connectivity has become more of a focus. Officials say the broadband grant for Bliss is a step in the right direction.

“Citizens of Bliss and the surrounding area will have improved access to the internet and that will help improve education, improve business, improve healthcare," President of Region IV Development Association Jeff McCurdy said. "It’s just overall, beneficial to the citizens in this area”

Getting better technology and connectivity into rural areas isn’t one size fits all.

“Putting in the infrastructure that makes sense for each of these rural communities varies, so it’s important to one, identify the most economical way of getting internet service to them," McCurdy said. "Some of them are towers some of them are direct connection fiber.”

For Bliss, it’s towers. One in town, and one near the canyon.

“We’ve put two 125 foot towers up and they’re in the air now, we were hurrying to get them done," White Cloud Communications Owner Joe Shelton said. "We’ll start putting the electronics on them, but they will have amazing speeds of internet now where they had none,”

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