In June 2011, the North Florida Broadband Authority began construction on Phase I of the Ubiquitous Middle Mile project. Extending across 14 counties designated as Rural Areas of Critical Economic Concern (RACEC) by the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development (OTTED), the new 1,200-mile fixed wireless broadband network enable high-speed broadband connectivity to as many as 150,000 households, 27,000 businesses, and 1,400 community anchor institutions including public schools, universities, libraries, healthcare facilities, public safety organizations, and government agencies. The network will also allow residents, businesses, and service providers to connect to the Internet with speeds up to 1 Gbps.
The North Florida Broadband Authority, a newly formed government entity established specifically for the purpose of bringing broadband services to the North Florida region, estimates the entire new fiber network will be completed by spring 2012. Once complete, North Florida will market its full suite of broadband services to Internet service providers at wholesale prices.
The organization is also developing training curriculum to prepare and educate residents about the new broadband network. Partnering with OTTED, North Florida will facilitate workshops across the RACEC counties to teach residents how to connect to the network through their local Internet service providers. BTOP funds have allowed North Florida to hire 12 full-time employees for construction. North Florida estimates it will hire an additional 20 full-time employees for construction and project administration in July 2011.
Last Updated October 18, 2011.