Ivey awards 14 broadband grants — ‘COVID-19 pandemic compounded just how necessary these services are’
Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday announced that she has awarded nearly $5.1 million in State-funded grants to ensure more Alabamians have access to high-speed internet services.
Fourteen areas throughout the Yellowhammer State will gain access to broadband services through the latest round of grants awarded through the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund.
The fund was created through the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Act, passed by the legislature and signed into law in 2018. Its purpose is to spur economic development and improve the quality of life in the state’s rural areas by increasing high-speed internet access.
The requirement for remote learning during the COVID-19 crisis has only hastened the need to expand the state’s efforts, which was also referenced when Ivey in March awarded 20 grants totaling $9.5 million to provide broadband access in rural communities and areas without adequate service.
“Broadband has always been a priority of my administration, but the COVID-19 pandemic compounded just how necessary these services are to residents in rural and underserved areas of Alabama,” Ivey stated on Tuesday. “Along with the help of broadband providers, we are making more steady progress in ensuring that Alabamians will have the option to receive these services.”
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) administers the important grant program.
“Seeing the progress made in supplying high-speed internet availability is certainly gratifying and rewarding for Gov. Ivey and for ADECA,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell remarked. “ADECA is honored to be a part of this program that is having life-changing and life-improving impacts in rural Alabama.”
Grants awarded and coverage areas are as follows:
- Mediacom Southeast LLC- $3,219 to provide service availability along Joe Carter Road near Bay Minette affecting 17 households.
- Mediacom Southeast LLC – $36,813 to provide access availability to 97 households along U.S. Highway 90 west of Loxley.
- Mediacom Southeast LLC- $59,789 to extend broadband service to the Charmont Subdivision in Loxley with the potential to serve 121 households.
- Mediacom Southeast LLC – $19,993 to provide access to 23 households at Cypress Bay West, south of Lillian.
- Hayneville Fiber Transport Inc. (Camellia Communications) – $47,876 to provide service availability to 40 households, a business and a community anchor along Ebenezer Road.
- Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative Inc. – $1.1 million to provide broadband availability to 806 households and six businesses in south DeKalb County.
- Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative Inc. – $372,371 to provide broadband connect ability to about 270 households and a business in DeKalb and Jackson counties in an area between Pisgah, Flat Rock, Dutton and Henagar
- New Hope Telephone Cooperative Inc. – $108,527 to provide service in the Berkley community which includes 188 households, three businesses and an anchor.
- Mediacom Southeast LLC- $15,044 to provide service available to 40 houses in the Beth Drive area near New Market.
- Pine Belt Telephone Co. Inc. – $1.5 million to provide service access to parts of Sweet Water and Myrtlewood including nearly 1,500 households, 75 businesses and 10 anchor services including a school, four fire department and a medical clinic.
- Mon-Cre Telephone Cooperative Inc. – $341,078 to provide broadband availability to 150 households along Hobbie Road in the LeGrand community.
- OTELCO Inc. – $619,500 to provide access for more than 1,579 households, 66 businesses and four anchors in the Morgan City community.
- Windstream Alabama LLC- $19,475 to provide broadband access to 61 households and three businesses south of Camp Hill.
- Cyber Broadband Inc. – $824,862 to provide access to about 800 households and 15 anchor establishments on and near Smith Lake from Arley to the Cullman County boundary.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn