Alabama Ready to Invest $85 Million on Broadband in Rural Communities

Date: August 02, 2022

"...broadband impacts and affects us in every way, shape, form, and fashion."

The Ivey administration has announced that it’s ready to invest $85 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to expand broadband across Alabama. It’s also seeking $200 million in Alabama’s Capitol Projects Fund for additional projects.

Speaking at last month’s Economic Development Association of Alabama’s summer conference, the director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) estimated it will ultimately cost $4 billion to $6 billion to fully wire the state, but he said these projects are a start.

ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said the pandemic drove home the importance of high-speed internet access. “It’s quality of life, it’s health care, it’s education – in today’s world, broadband impacts and affects us in every way, shape, form, and fashion,” he said.

Boswell said internet service providers can already provide initial access to broadband, known as the “first mile,” while local telephone and internet providers can connect homes and businesses with what is often called “the last mile.” The $85 million in ARPA funds will be used to improve the connection between the first mile and the last, he said.

NFIB State Director Rosemary Elebash said small businesses need fast, reliable internet access in order to stay competitive. NFIB supported two broadband bills during the 2021 and ’22 legislative sessions. She said NFIB’s small business members strongly supported Sen. Clay Scofield’s legislation, which will improve internet access for businesses and education and promote economic development.


Related Content: Small Business News | Alabama

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