As Mississippi receives federal funding for broadband expansion, Sally Doty, director of the Office of Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi (BEAM), seeks to bring better internet to unserved areas of the city. ‘State.

BEAM was established under the Department of Finance and Administration by the state legislature in April.

According to Doty, BEAM expects to receive $162 million from the Infrastructure and Jobs Act and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The bureau seeks to allocate funds to various carriers throughout the state through a grant program.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of different community leaders, but it’s really, in Mississippi, the carriers who are going to come asking for this money,” Doty said on a recent episode of The Gallo radio show. “I had a lot of discussions with them. I met the Co-Ops this week. I’ve been with the rural phone companies. I met C Spire, AT&T; I’ve met everyone, I think we all realize this is such an opportunity.

BEAM is currently developing a plan to use the funds for broadband expansion in the most rural and underserved areas of the state. The deadline for submitting the plan to the federal government is in September, but Doty wants it to be submitted internally by the end of July.

Doty estimates that about 20-30% of the state will use the majority of these funds. The electric power associations scattered throughout these parts of the state will be the primary — but not the only — recipients of federal money, and they will be responsible for developing plans for the areas they cover.

Additionally, there will be regulations on how the money is used.

“With this federal money, there has to be a low-cost option. We’re getting to define that as a state and we’re talking about that and talking to the different carriers about what’s appropriate because, you know, it has to fund itself,” Doty said. “You have to have continuous maintenance. You can’t just build this big network. He must support himself.

Doty also said that BEAM expects to receive a large sum of federal money close to $1 billion in 2023.

The full interview with Doty can be watched below.