Arkansas House Speaker Jeremy Gillam and Senate President Pro-Tem Jonathan Dismang issued a challenge to the Joint Committee for Advanced Communication and Information Technology to ensure every Arkansan has access to affordable high-speed broadband internet.
“It is time to step up our game,” Gillam said. “Every home, every business, every school must have appropriate access.”
Today, Oct. 28, the committee voted to adopt the challenge and approved a working timeline to have policy recommendations by October 2016.
The Federal Communications Commission reports that 59 percent of Arkansans do not have access to broadband. Broadband is defined by the FCC as 25 Mbps for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads.
Arkansas Broadband Initiative — Proposed Working Timeline:
October: Initiative Announced
November: Statewide Broadband Assessment – Where are we currently?
2015-16 Fact Finding:
December: Fayetteville I ARE-ON Tour January: Texarkana February:Monticello
March: Jonesboro April: Fiscal Session May: Little Rock
June – August 2016
Finalize Policy Recommendations:
September – October 2016
Note: Complete prior to the beginning of budget hearings