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Gov. Tate Reeves, center, signed House Bill 1029 into law late Wednesday. The bill provides for the Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi Act, which will work to connect unserved and underserves areas to broadband. Photo courtesy of Gov. Tate Reeves

4.14.22 – deltanews.tv – (The Center Square)

Unserved and underserved areas of Mississippi needing broadband will benefit from a new law, Gov. Tate Reeves said.

The governor signed House Bill 1029, known as the Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi Act, late Wednesday that creates a new office that will oversee broadband infrastructure projects in the state.

“We recognize that to best prepare our residents for the jobs of the next 50 years, we need to ensure that every Mississippian has access to the full breadth of benefits technology has to offer,” Reeves said in a release. “This new office is a strategic move that will give us a centralized, coordinated, and streamlined approach to bring a variety of programs and efforts together under one roof. It will help to ensure accountability and transparency over the range of efforts and money that is being invested into Mississippi’s broadband infrastructure.”

Under the bill, the Office of Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi will be established under the Department of Finance and Administration to oversee the initiative.

The department, according to the bill, will review applications for funding of broadband infrastructure projects that use federal and state funding and to publish on its website criteria for competitively scoring applications.

The governor has appointed Sally Doty to be the director of the broadband office, according to the release. Doty is the executive director of the Mississippi Public Utilities Staff and a former state senator from Brookhaven who represented the southwestern portion of the state for a decade.

Doty, according to the release, oversaw the $75 million in CARES Act broadband infrastructure funding and recently received $32 million in federal Broadband Infrastructure Grant funding for projects in 10 counties. The efforts connected more than 12,000 underserved households in the state.

This article originally ran on thecentersquare.com.