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Navajo County and eX² Technology Join Forces to Expand Broadband Capacity

Navajo County and eX² Technology Join Forces to Expand Broadband Capacity

Navajo County – April 24, 2024 – Navajo County Board of Supervisors and eX² Technology joined together with Governor Hobbs, community members, elected officials, and local, state and national leaders to celebrate the official groundbreaking and construction of a more than 100-mile open-access, dark fiber middle-mile network infrastructure to expand broadband throughout Navajo County, Arizona.

The network will provide Navajo County with the ability to sustain the broadband capacity to support municipal fiber, telehealth, education, and Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) for homes and businesses. Additionally, it will interconnect with existing fiber networks in the region as well as facilitate future connections to Phoenix, Arizona, neighboring counties and tribal networks, and an I-40 corridor expansion to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“Recognizing a need for reliable, affordable internet and improved broadband offerings, the County commissioned a Broadband Strategic Plan in early 2021, and we’re now excited to be working with eX² Technology to construct a middle-mile fiber optic broadband system,” said Navajo County Chairman of the Board Jason E. Whiting. “This network will ensure the continuity of County operations and serve to provide reliable connectivity to residents and businesses for years to come. It can also help bring new businesses to the region by meeting the connectivity needs required to operate efficiently in today’s global economy.”

eX² Technology designed and will operate and maintain the middle-mile network upon completion under a 20-year agreement. In addition, eX² will serve as the County’s exclusive commercialization partner to market and offer conduit, dark fiber, wireless and other wireline assets on a competitively neutral basis to those seeking to expand their services throughout the region.

“This open-access, middle-mile backbone will serve as an economic growth engine for Navajo County, enabling access to high-speed internet for the region’s underserved communities,” said Jay Jorgensen, COO at eX² Technology. “Moreover, the infrastructure will aid in closing the area’s digital gap by allowing residents to easily tap into telehealth, online learning, remote working, public safety communications, and an array of other local government services. We’re thrilled to partner with Navajo County to deliver this next-generation broadband infrastructure.”

Navajo County received a $9.7 million Rural Arizona Broadband Development Grant from the Arizona Commerce Authority to provide its residents and businesses with access to affordable, reliable, high-speed internet. The $9.7 million from this competitive grant will be combined with the $10 million already allocated by the Navajo County Board of Supervisors from ARPA funds for a total $19.7 million investment in broadband infrastructure.

“Access to reliable, high-speed internet is closely connected to economic opportunity, especially in rural communities,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “We are proud to support this exciting milestone towards connecting more Arizonans in Navajo Count and are grateful to Governor Hobbs for her leadership and all our partners.”