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The Arkansas Department of Commerce has awarded Saline County nearly $3 million in funding through the Arkansas Rural Connect broadband grant program to bring high-speed internet access to a number of communities in the southern and western parts of the county.

According to a press release from Saline County Judge Jeff Arey, Aristotle Unified Communications will partner with the county to provide broadband to the unincorporated areas of Shaw, Paron and Owensville. The cities of Traskwood and Lonsdale are also included, along with the unserved areas in between.

Arey applied for the grant on behalf of the county.

“When we saw the opportunity to bring much-needed broadband service to underserved areas of Saline County, we knew we had to apply,” Arey said. “I’m pleased to announce that this grant will bring broadband internet access to nearly 3,500 unserved and underserved households in the county.”

Saline County was awarded $2,950,000 in funding through the ARC program, which aims to provide high-speed internet access to rural communities.

“Aristotle has offered broadband service in Eastern Saline County for many years, and we are looking forward to expanding that coverage,” said Elizabeth Bowles, CEO of Aristotle Unified Communications. “In the era of COVID-19, the need for high-speed internet access has never been greater, and this project provides an excellent start towards the goal of providing broadband access throughout Saline County.”

AUC is a Little Rock-based broadband internet service provider founded in 2010 that is committed to “bringing broadband to unserved, underserved and rural communities, particularly in the Arkansas Delta.”

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