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Bossier Police Jury focusing on rural internet access

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Bossier Parish and national leaders are looking at different technologies that might assist securing broadband internet for rural areas in Louisiana.

At the Sept. 18 Bossier Parish Police Jury meeting, Bossier Parish Administrator Bill Altimus, provided the Jury with an update about a conference he attended earlier this month regarding rural broadband access.

Hosted by U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, Altimus and other state and parish officials attended a rural broadband conference on Sept. 4 in Covington.

“The Senator had people from D.C. — the FCC, USDA, rural development, Delta Regional Authority — come in,” Altimus said. “Service providers were also in attendance at the conference.”

He said that while attending the conference, Senator Cassidy asked some hard questions to officials.

“It was a very good and interesting meeting. Multiple funding opportunities were mentioned. And Senator Cassidy asked some pretty hard questions to the federal officials that attended the meeting,” said Altimus.

Altimus also advised the police jury that while he was attending the conference, he learned that Gov. John Bel Edwards recently issued an executive order to structure a commission for broadband access for everyone in Louisiana.

“The Governor is taking this on. We need help. We need to look at things and we need people to support and encourage and promote the development of broadband in the state,” said Altimus.

Concluding his update of the conference, Altimus told the police jury that the importance of broadband internet access in rural Louisiana has seen the Lt. Governor hire a national firm out of Washington D.C.

“The Lieutenant Governor sees how important broadband and internet access is here in Louisiana. He hired ARG Global Development to assist our state on broadband interest issues,” Altimus said. “As important as the telephone was to this country back when really nobody had a telephone, the internet is the same thing to us today.” 

President of ARG Global Development Larry Lynott told the Press-Tribune that he and his team are in the beginning stages of putting together a committee here in Bossier to work towards bringing broadband and internet access to rural areas in Louisiana. 

“Our mission is to provide support for the Lt. Governor to the areas of Louisiana that are identified areas where we can provide support of our area here in Washington D.C.,” Lynott said.

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