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Alabama Fiber Network, Governor Ivey celebrate launch of statewide broadband service

Wednesday in Cullman, the Alabama Fiber Network (AFN), a coalition of eight electric co-ops and partners, officially launched its middle-mile broadband service. According to AFN, today’s event with Governor Kay Ivey marked a major step in reducing the digital divide across Alabama.

The network lighting ceremony also announced Sprout Fiber Internet as the network’s first last-mile customer and highlighted the introduction of AFN’s new CEO, Terry Metze, Jr., a broadband industry veteran who joined the team earlier this summer. Attendees learned more about AFN’s network.

According to IMPLAN, the network will generate 4,112 total jobs with a total economic impact of $657 million.

“Today, I joined to mark the Alabama Fiber Network is live and ready to serve!” Gov. Ivey said. “In 2024, we must be in the race to be fully connected, and folks, that is a top priority for the Ivey Administration.”

RELATED: Metze to lead Alabama Fiber Network as inaugural CEO of state’s middle-mile broadband coalition

“This is a monumental day for Alabama. We are proud to officially launch our service and begin connecting communities across the state,” Metze said. “Increasing access throughout Alabama will enhance innovation and create new opportunities for education, healthcare, economic development, and more.”

AFN is a key part of Gov. Ivey and the Alabama Legislature’s BeLinked plan to provide affordable, reliable internet access statewide. The network has received over $200 million in federal grants to expand into rural communities, historically unserved or underserved. Once complete, the network will cover over 5,000 miles and reach all 67 counties.

“Our goal is to connect Alabama to the future,” said Tom Stackhouse, AFN board chairman and Central Alabama Electric Cooperative president and CEO. “Today’s event is a testament to our commitment for all Alabamians to have access to reliable, high-speed internet.”

Grayson Everett is the state and political editor for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270

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