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Jackson, DeKalb counties to gain broadband access

Residents of more than 2,500 households in DeKalb and Jackson counties will have broadband access, thanks to the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund.

Gov. Kay Ivey joined a ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday for broadband expansion projects in DeKalb and Jackson counties. The projects are funded by  grants awarded through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).

(Governor’s Office/Hal Yeager)

DeKalb County was granted $3.4 million to provide broadband access to 826 households, businesses and public service institutions.

In Jackson County, $4.37 million will provide broadband access to 1,818 households, businesses and public buildings.

“To thrive in a 21st century world and a 21st century economy, broadband must be made readily available so additional job opportunities can be created, education can be expanded past the walls of our classrooms and healthcare services can be improved,” said Ivey. “The projects underway will bring world class broadband service to the majority of the currently unserved portions in DeKalb and Jackson counties, serving as prime evidence that the state’s plan for expanding digital infrastructure is working efficiently.

“Providing access to high-speed internet connectivity for Alabamians across every corner of our state has been a top priority during my time as governor, and it will continue to be as we move into these next four years.”

The event also included ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell, Alabama Speaker of the House Nathaniel Ledbetter of Rainsville, Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative CEO Fred Johnson, Mentone Mayor Rob Hammond and Jackson County Economic Development Authority President and CEO Nathan Lee.

“Increasing broadband connectivity across Alabama has been a top priority throughout Governor Ivey’s administration, and ADECA has been proud to be able to support her as she works to accomplish that goal,” Boswell said. “Working closely with the governor, the Legislature, internet service providers and communities to develop planning, mapping and managing grant programs to support broadband expansion efforts in the state leads to results like what we’re seeing today in Jackson and DeKalb counties.

“The mission to expand broadband access isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and we look forward to continuing to run that race.”

ADECA awarded these grants in the latest round of Broadband Accessibility Act Funding in August 2022. The two grants total $7.7 million and will provide access to paid broadband service for 2,644 households that are unserved in the two counties.

  • DeKalb County towns, cities and communities of Mentone, Valley Head, Fort Payne, Cloudmont, Cloudland, Union Hill, Moon Lake, Ponderosa, Bankhead, Little River East Fork, Little River West Fork, Oakdale, Sylvania Gap and DeSoto State Park.
  • Jackson County’s service will include all or parts of the towns and communities of Dutton, Section, Langston, Powell, Macedonia, Davistown, Pleasant View, Hodge and Hancock Crossing.

“If you want proof that what the state is doing on broadband is working – look no further than the projects currently underway here in these communities,” said Johnson. “Almost all unserved and underserved portions of these counties will have broadband access as a result of these projects, and I thank Governor Ivey and her administration for giving us the support we needed to make this possible.”

Through this program, 22,433 previously unserved addresses now have access to high-speed internet. An additional 39,196 currently unserved addresses are anticipated to have access to high-speed internet within the next two years.

The state has committed more than $300 million more in state and federal funding for broadband expansion.

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