On January 13, 2020, Governor Doug Ducey, laid out his priorities in the State of the State Address that he plans to expand rural broadband, and start Smart Highway Corridors projects, with the hopes to “get all of rural Arizona logged on.” This project will be a collaborative partnership between the public state universities, including NAU, Arizona State University, and the University of Arizona.
Governor Doug Ducey called on elected leaders and lawmakers to contribute to the state’s growth, “The Arizona Way,” that has a strong emphasis on growing jobs in rural Arizona, honoring the state’s veterans, securing water future, and investing in infrastructure and teachers and students.
These grants will help support broadband infrastructure, quality of life, and economic growth in Arizona’s rural communities. In 2019, these grants brought high-speed service to Bullhead City, Fort Mohave, Mohave Valley, Page, Payson, and the Tonto Apache Tribe.
In addition to Rural Broadband Development, the Governor proposed a Smart Highway Corridors initiative. This will be in conjunction with the Arizona Department of Transportation’s efforts to install over 500 miles of broadband conduit and fiber optic cable along existing highways throughout Arizona. Flagstaff will see a direct impact, as the connectivity will allow for “smart” digital billboards providing crucial information, including road conditions and closures – especially on Interstate 17 from Sunset Point to Flagstaff, and Interstate 40 from Arizona to New Mexico.
NAU ITS looks forward to this innovative and collaborative opportunity to work with our partnering universities, as it speaks to one of NAU’s strategic goals of serving Native American students and the university’s strive for innovation.