The Town of Esto and unincorporated areas of Holmes County are receiving millions in grant funding to add fiber optic cable to facilitate internet download and upload speeds, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office announced Friday, Feb. 2.
The funds will specifically go to local internet provider Tritech Wireless, LLC dba Tritech Fiber, who have previously received similar funding and are working to expand internet capabilities in Holmes County.
Esto is getting close to $5 million “to add 60.1 miles of fiber optic cable to provide 338 unserved and underserved locations within Holmes County with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 1 GB.”
Though the Town of Esto won’t get any of the actual money or plan the project, Town Clerk Ben Tew said they will benefit from it.
“We are very excited to hear of this broadband grant. Currently the internet access options are limited for our town, so having fiber optic available would be a huge development,” Tew said. “The benefits this could bring to Esto are incredible – greater medical, and educational options, new digital online jobs, increased access to digital entertainment. High-speed internet is an important factor in attracting new residents and businesses to our town.”
Tew further said they are “grateful to the governor for recognizing the importance of broadband accessibility in rural areas and look forward to seeing the growth this award will bring to the citizens of Esto.”
Meanwhile, unincorporated areas of Holmes County are getting $14.9 million in total to add 146.95 total miles of fiber optic cable to also enhance download and upload speeds.
The funding is part of the state’s Broadband Opportunity Program, which distributed $135 million in total throughout Florida.
“Awards through the Broadband Opportunity Program will support 54 projects in 33 Florida counties for broadband internet expansion that will provide internet to over 27,000 unserved residential, educational, agricultural, business and community locations,” the announcement said.
In a prepared statement, DeSantis said connecting Florida’s “small and rural communities to broadband internet will help them find jobs, access education resources and expand their businesses.”
“We will continue to make investments in broadband internet that support long-term growth for our communities, without federally imposed strings attached,” he said.