The goal of BEAM is to bring a coordinated approach to expanding broadband “under one roof.”
On Tuesday, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves provided updates on the Office of Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi (BEAM), which was created following the 2022 Legislative Session through House Bill 1029.
In addition to Governor Reeves, BEAM Director Sally Doty participated in the organization’s update.
Reeves said the BEAM Office has submitted its Capital Projects Fund plan to the U.S. Department of Treasury and is awaiting the Department’s approval.
“If you are a provider interested in applying for these funds, please visit the BEAM website for more information or reach out directly to Director Doty or her team,” Governor Reeves said.
Reeves noted that in addition to the Capital Projects Funds, Mississippi was awarded $450 million from the FCC’s Rural Development Opportunity Fund in 2019.
“These funds will be dispersed over ten years, but are already making a big difference,” Reeves said. “As it played a major role in helping the electrical operatives of Mississippi sign up almost, maybe even over, 100,000 high-speed internet subscribers in rural parts of our state.”
Governor Reeves said that much like AccelerateMS with workforce development, the goal of BEAM is to bring a coordinated approach to expanding broadband “under one roof.”
“To help ensure maximum effectiveness, and to accomplish Mississippi’s ambitious broadband expansion goals, it’s going to be critical to engage local communities and learn from their perspectives on the issues that matter most to the folks back home,” Reeves said. “Mississippians, not the government, know best what’s needed to improve their neighborhoods. We want to hear directly from them about the opportunities that exist within their communities.”
Governor Reeves added that that is why he is happy to highlight what BEAM is undertaking through community engagement meetings in a campaign that will cross the entire state of Mississippi.
“Recently, BEAM had a community meeting in Cleveland and they are in the process of scheduling many more,” Reeves continued. “I want to encourage every Mississippian to attend them and make their voices heard. They are a great opportunity to speak directly to public officials and an excellent way to learn how your government is working for you.”
Their goal, Reeves said, is to bring transparency to the process and these meetings will help accomplish that goal.
The Mississippi Governor also announced that over the coming months, BEAM will be doing critical work as they map out, down to each individual address, who does and who does not have broadband service.
“This mapping will help to lay the foundation of their efforts to equip Mississippians with broadband technology over the coming years,” Reeves said. “I look forward to announcing even more progress on this front in the near future.”
“Mississippi’s broadband expansion initiatives are just beginning,” Reeves continued. “But we’ve already made tremendous strides.”
Director of BEAM, Sally Doty, said community engagement is such an important part of broadband expansion, noting that the next community meeting will be held in Clinton on November 17th at 6 p.m.