54,000 rural homes and businesses in north Louisiana will have access to broadband internet as part of the fed’s Connect America program that’s providing 22 million dollars so three different internet providers can make it happen. Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell says high speed internet is a necessity in today's world.

“Help north Louisiana join the world, that’s what it will do. It’ll put us in communication with the rest of the world, just like when we didn’t have telephones up here years and years ago, we had to get telephones.”

Campbell says it’s particularly important to students who live in areas without quality internet access. He says this will make study and homework much easier.

“Students, when they go home, a lot of teachers assigned projects that they have to go somewhere to get on an internet system to do. That’s what it really is good for.”

Campbell says the roughly 50 to 60 dollar a month broadband charge is completely optional.

“People don’t have to take this if they don’t want it. It’s not charged to everybody, and some people won’t want it. Only people who take it will have to pay for it, unlike some other systems that have come up.”

Campbell will be celebrating the expansion with AT&T officials at a new tower just south of Bossier City at 1030 today.