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Gov. Kay Ivey transfers $276M in ARPA funds for broadband expansion

Wednesday, Gov. Kay Ivey announced that the state’s portion of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding designated for broadband expansion had successfully been transferred to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).

By way of a memorandum of understanding, ADECA will be the state agency that oversees the administration of the $276 million in Alabama’s ARPA funds that will be utilized for enhancing broadband infrastructure. The Alabama Legislature made the funding appropriation during its special session in January.

ADECA will deploy the funds through the department’s Alabama Digital Expansion Division via grant programs to provide high-speed internet access to unserved portions of the Yellowhammer State.

In a statement announcing the funding transfer, Ivey spoke to the need for broadband to be deployed throughout areas of the state that do not enjoy high-speed internet services.

“Broadband is vital infrastructure that helps bring more jobs, improves educational and health care opportunities and bolsters our economy,” said Ivey. “These funds represent an opportunity to fill this need for broadband service in more areas of our state, particularly rural communities. I am pleased to complete this step in the funding process, and I have full confidence that ADECA will manage these funds wisely.”

The governor’s office in a release advised that since 2018, ADECA has awarded more than 90 projects to expand broadband access through the Alabama Broadband Connectivity Fund. In January, ADECA unveiled the Alabama Broadband Map and Alabama Connectivity Plan. The comprehensive approach to expanding high-speed internet access has allowed state leadership to effectively develop strategies and pinpoint areas of need.

ADECA director Kenneth Boswell touted the support his department had received from Ivey and lawmakers in overseeing the expansion of broadband throughout Alabama.

“ADECA is honored to have the support of the governor, the Legislature and others as we all work toward the common goal of expanding broadband access to more areas of our state,” stated Boswell. “With the completion of the Alabama Broadband Map and Connectivity Plan and this funding boost, we have the pieces in place for effective grant programs to incentivize providers to expand their coverage areas.”

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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