(KTEN) — For many who live in rural areas, internet connections can be spotty... or even nonexistent.

The $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to expand broadband connections across the nation, with $1.9 billion of that total flowing into Oklahoma.

"It's the centerpiece of economic development," said Oklahoma state Rep. Logan Phillips (R-District 24). "Broadband is not a nicety; it's not a luxury that we have; it is flat-out infrastructure."

The American Rescue Plan aimed to expand broadband infrastructure across the country, but the U.S. Treasury Department ruled the focus should be on areas with limited or no broadband connection; areas like southern Oklahoma.

"We have different issues facing different sectors of the state," Phillips said. "We know in suburban areas, city centers, it's priced too high for the population. It's a very, vastly different issue than rural Oklahoma that simply has nothing. We were 47th in the nation in broadband connectivity here in Oklahoma, with 80 percent of our population by land mass having no connection in their home."

Those are areas where many citizens rely on libraries to get online.

"People use the computers for lots of different things — job applications, researching just on Google, watching YouTube videos," said V.J. Anderson with the Madill City Library. "I have a couple of people who come in and need to learn how to fix something and YouTube is their main source of information."

The Sooner State will receive $1.9 billion from the CARES Act to help expand connectivity.

"The answer is simple: We build broadband and we connect the homes," Phillips said. "That's the only option; we put it in the ground, and we actually bring fiber to everybody."