OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — A recently announced $100 million broadband service project will bring fiber network service to businesses and residents in Okaloosa County. The project between One Okaloosa and LiveOak Fiber is slated to being in the latter part of 2022 with the first customers in February of 2023. LiveOak said the work will create 50 new jobs over the next three years.

The county board performed a recent broadband test to calculate the slowest speeds and prioritize service projects. An official news release stated underserved areas of Okaloosa County will benefit from the project. The county is working to confirm with the economic development team what areas that will be.

LiveOak Fiber will be installing fiber with 10G speed capability. That matches the fastest speeds in the country.

A 2021 research report from BroadbandNow estimated at least 42 million Americans lack access to broadband internet. According to the report, 2,373,981 Floridians also lack access to reliable broadband internet.

LiveOak Fiber

Research from One Okaloosa and LiveOak revealed Okaloosa County areas ranked #138 in the country’s best-performing broadband cities.

“Okaloosa County residents and businesses need the critical infrastructure and services to support a growing population and attract new investment. Bringing high-speed fiber and the modern services it enables to these communities changes lives, improves education, advances healthcare options, and grows local businesses.”

Jody Craft, President of LiveOak Fiber.

“We welcome LiveOak Fiber’s considerable investment in Okaloosa County’s technology infrastructure.  As our community’s profile continues to elevate for new businesses and residents alike, a state-of-the-art fiber network is not only an important amenity, it is an absolute necessity.”

Commissioner Mel Ponder, Chairman, Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners.

“One Okaloosa EDC is a strong proponent of any effort designed to enhance our community’s overall competitiveness, and a $100 million investment by the private sector in new broadband infrastructure resoundingly checks that box.  We also enthusiastically welcome LiveOak’s commitment to creating new, local job opportunities.”

Leslie Sheekley, Chair, One Okaloosa EDC