School Board will vote on grant opportunities to bring high speed internet to school in Goldonna

One item of interest on the Natchitoches Parish School Board’s agenda is to take appropriate action on a bid for the installation of fiber optic cable to bring high speed internet access to Goldonna Elementary and Jr. High School. The board will discuss awarding the bid at Tuesday’s committee meeting and vote on it at Thursday’s board meeting.

The bid in question is for an E-Rate Grant. With funding from the Universal Service Fund, E-Rate provides discounts for telecommunications, Internet access, and internal connections to eligible schools and libraries.

Eugene Garner will be personally asking his fellow School Board members for their support at the committee meeting.

Over $900,000 in funding is identified for Natchitoches Parish. This will go toward the installation of fiber optic cable to the Goldonna Elementary and Jr. High School. Normally the School Board would be responsible for 10% of the cost of the project, but an additional grant was found to cover these costs as well.

It will also cover the purchase and installation of the necessary equipment at the school. Estimated completion for this project would be July 1.

Once the cable is in place, there’s hopes that a private entity would be interested in bringing the broadband to residences throughout the area. State Senator Louie Bernard and State Representative for District 22 Gabe Firment have helped to locate grants to assist a private entity in the installation process of fiber optic lines to residents. Bernard said he’s very hopeful that additional grant funding will become available.

Marthaville and Provencal have already had these trunk lines installed, but there’s no private entity that’s been interested in bringing the service to residences in these areas.

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at Goldonna Elementary once everything has been approved.

This news comes on the heels of an announcement from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that Natchitoches Parish was allocated $13,456,731 in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction to provide high speed internet to 4,733 unserved/underserved locations. Eligible locations include areas around the rural communities of Goldonna, Lakeview, Fairview Alpha, Clarence, and Readhimer. The winning bidders in Natchitoches Parish were Segnem Egere Consortium, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, and AMG Technology Investment Group.

The winning bidders have 6 years to complete the build out, but there are significant incentives to complete the work faster.

What this all means is that the future of high speed internet access in Natchitoches Parish is.

The Natchitoches Parish School Board will meet Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 5 pm in the board room of the School Board Office, located at 310 Royal Street.

Any Citizen that wishes to observe the School Board meeting live may do so at: