Governor creates Office of Broadband Development

Gov Robert Bentley bill signing
Robert Bentley

Citing the need for additional resources in broadband infrastructure and education Governor Bentley on Thursday signed an Executive Order 9 creating the Office of Broadband Development.

In a release announcing the Executive Order the Governor’s office said “Broadband infrastructure has been set up in many Alabama communities, but too many areas still lack adequate and affordable access to this important resource.”

According to the order, Governor Bentley will appoint 19 members to an Advisory Board that will advise the Director on the operation of the Office and report its evaluations to the Governor. According to his office, “Additional members, including representatives of the broadband service providers in Alabama and other related industries and associations, may be appointed to the membership of the Board, in a non-voting capacity, and will be determined by the Governor.”

According to BroadbandNow, a site dedicated to making broadband available for every American, Alabama 39th most connected state. They go on to say that 24% of the state is underserved.

“The Office of Broadband Development allows Alabama to more effectively meet the demands of our businesses and citizens in an ever growing digital age,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “Broadband development is critical in Alabama’s continued economic growth, and I am confident that this newly created office will help us in reaching statewide goals in the areas of public safety, healthcare, education, e-Government, agriculture, tourism, economic development and more.”

According to the Governor’s press release, “The Office of Broadband Development will continue to assess broadband coverage and gaps in service across the state. The Office will research grants on behalf of state agencies and local governments for the development of broadband in Alabama. It will also collect and share information with stakeholders, such as challenges, opportunities, resources, webinars, maps and public policies that enhance or hamper Broadband deployment and usage.”

“Broadband, commonly referred to as high-speed Internet, was considered a luxury a few short years ago. This technology, however, is now critical to everything from economic development to Public Safety,” Director of Broadband Development, Kathy Johnson, said. “I am excited to be working on this vital program that will help support Governor Bentley’s efforts to attract and retain well-paying jobs, provide access to healthcare and education in all Alabama communities, make our communities safer and more productive, and enhance the quality of life for all Alabamians.”

The Governor’s Executive Order can be found here.