Fiber Utility Network Inc. (FUN), a coalition of eight electric co-ops, their subsidiaries, and partners, announced major plans for the group Tuesday.
To more accurately reflect its role in the expansion of middle-mile broadband throughout the state, FUN will now be known as the Alabama Fiber Network (AFN).
Tom Stackhouse, AFN Chairman and Central Alabama Electric Cooperative President and CEO, articulated the reason behind the change.
“We’ve operated under our ‘Fiber Utility Network’ corporate name since before the Alabama Legislature approved the use of federal funding for internet expansion purposes,” said Stackhouse. “Now that we are putting our middle-mile network plan into action, we wanted to develop a brand that reflects our core business and statewide service area.”
Chris Skelton, AFN Chief Technology Officer, said it’s a great time for the change.
“The ‘Alabama Fiber Network’ name is the perfect description of the 3,000-mile middle-mile fiber optic network,” Skelton said. “This name is a clear representation of the network and its scope and scale.”
“Be Linked is an essential undertaking, bringing high-speed broadband service to every citizen in Alabama, and the Alabama Fiber Network is proud to be part of this initiative.”
The change of name follows Governor Kay Ivey introducing ‘Be Linked Alabama’, the state’s hub for continued efforts to grow statewide access to high-speed internet.
Ivey has also approved the use of $276 million of the state’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal funds to expand high-speed internet access across Alabama.
In Sept. 2022, FUN was awarded more than $82 million to fund its middle-mile broadband network that will connect more than 3,000 miles of new and existing fiber infrastructure throughout the state.
Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.