Broadband meeting Aug. 25 in Leesville

Published 9:55 am Thursday, August 17, 2023

By Emily Burleigh

Later this month, Vernon Parish residents will have the opportunity to get clarity on upcoming broadband upgrades.

State Rep. Charles Owens spoke briefly about the public meeting at the Leeseville City Council meeting on Monday.

“With the proliferation of federal and state money coming to our parish to get internet … there is a lot of concern as to who’s in charge of what.”

In 2022, Louisiana was granted over $170 million to private broadband projects in 50 parishes throughout the Granting Unserved Municipalities Broadband Opportunities (GUMBO) grant program.

Cable South and Swyft Fiber were granted $4,418,300 for a $11,118,300 project that will cover 2,654 locations.

Owens said there are many moving parts to get broadband in Vernon Parish. To make the process clear for the public, he asked Veneeth Iyengar, Louisiana executive director of development and connectivity, to come to the city to speak on the morning of Friday, Aug. 25.

“The long-term goal is going to be 100 percent coverage in Vernon Parish, and I have confidence that we’re going to get there. In the meantime … there is going to be lots of gnashing of teeth. So, hopefully, we can provide the public a chance to come ask questions to be able to proliferate what is actually going on.”

The time and location has yet to be determined.