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Ivey pushes state’s broadband expansion

To inform residents about the state’s broadband expansion plan, Gov. Kay Ivey has kicked off meetings in all 67 counties. The meetings will be led by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

The Alabama Community Broadband Technical Assistance Program is a series of meetings across the Yellowhammer State beginning this week. Elected officials, Internet providers, community and non-profit organizations will take part in the sessions.

“In today’s modern world, being connected is a necessity, and there’s far too many Alabamians who are unable to access high-speed internet, increasing access to connectivity across the state has been and will continue to be a top priority for my Administration as we move into the next four years,” Ivey said. “This is the first meeting of many that will be offered in all 67 counties across the state, and I encourage our local leaders and communities to participate.

“These ADECA-led programs host the critical steps we must take to get our state across the broadband finish line. ”

RELATED: Alabama takes ‘most significant step’ toward statewide broadband access

ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said the state has made steady growth toward full broadband access.

“Under Governor Ivey’s leadership, Alabama has made strides in mapping and planning at the state level to increase broadband service in unserved areas, with the help of this funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce, ADECA will extend assistance with broadband mapping and planning to the county level,” he said. “This will help counties and communities develop plans and data to help take advantage of the many future opportunities for grant funding to help internet service providers expand broadband access to unserved areas.”

At Monday’s kickoff meeting in Montgomery, a National Telecommunications and Information Administration representative announced grants of $5 million from the Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment Program. The Digital Equity Act will provide $981,081 and plan activities to help increase access to broadband service.

The second meeting was Tuesday in Lowndes County. Today’s meeting in Greene County has been adjusted because of expected inclement weather. The next meetings are Thursday in Sumter County and Friday in Marengo County.

The meetings are open to the public, except for today in Greene County which will be rescheduled.

For information, visit http://adeca.alabama.gov/broadband

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News

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