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Tombigbee Electric’s broadband project awarded federal grant — ‘Excellent news’

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) on Tuesday announced that Tombigbee Electric Cooperative’s efforts to bring high-speed internet access to much of rural northwestern Alabama will benefit from a new federal grant award.

Tombigbee, based in Hamilton, AL, will receive a $774,912 ARC grant for the Northwest Alabama Revitalization project.

This project will implement a fiber-optic network providing broadband service to areas of Fayette, Franklin, Lamar, Marion and Winston Counties. The benefits are expected to be widespread, affecting economic development, education, healthcare and overall quality of life.

More than 925 unserved businesses will have the opportunity to obtain Tombigbee’s high-speed broadband service, which is called Freedom Fiber.

Additionally, 30,495 households will potentially benefit from the efforts.

The project capitalizes on an overall expected investment of $60 million from private and public sources and will enable service expansion to 116,000 residents through 2,000 miles of newly constructed fiber over the next three years.

Freedom Fiber will reportedly provide the fastest internet service in the Yellowhammer State, with speeds up to 10 gigs and a minimum speed of 100 megabits-per-second (mbps).

Tuesday’s grant announcement was met with praise by Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL). Shelby and Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04) have been stalwart leaders on the federal level fighting for increased broadband access across rural America.

RELATED: Rural broadband partnership highlighted at Yellowhammer News Shapers event

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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