In keeping with his Great State 2019 Plan, which he laid out in his recent State of the State address, Gov. Robert Bentley addressed the Broadband Forum on efforts to provide broadband internet service to the more than one million Alabamians currently unconnected.
The governor was welcomed to the forum by Cathy Johnson, director of the Alabama Office of Broadband Development, who called for efforts to “move Alabama forward” and “make sure everyone in Alabama has an opportunity to succeed.”
Bentley began his remarks by commenting on his limited knowledge on broadband, noting that he only recently saw one of the cables used in providing the service.
“The only thing I know about broadband is technology and information,” Bentley said. “And everybody needs that. We’ve got an opportunity to do something right now that will only come once in a lifetime.”
Bentley discussed the importance of providing Internet connectivity to residents of rural Alabama, making the connection between access to technology and decreased rates of poverty and unemployment.
Further, Bentley assured service providers in attendance that it was not the state’s intention to compete with them, rather to provide the infrastructure required for them to provide that service to areas currently offline.
“Let’s work together to come up with how this can work in Alabama,” Bentley said. “We’re trying to do the same thing.”