On Wednesday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) visited Atmore Community Hospital in Escambia County on the third stop on her broadband tour. Ivey stressed the importance of high-speed internet in allowing Alabamians to access telehealth services while highlighting the progress in broadband projects across the state.
“Broadband availability is not just for our convenience – it is a lifeline, particularly evident in telehealth services,” said Gov. Ivey. “For thousands of Alabamians in rural areas, telehealth bridges the gap to medical facilities, and without broadband, this vital resource remains out of reach for many,” said Governor Ivey. “I am proud to say Alabama remains committed to expanding our digital infrastructure, aiming to connect households, businesses, and institutions. Our broadband journey continues until every Alabamian has the ability to access high-speed internet.”
Gov. Ivey was joined by Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) Director Kenneth Boswell, State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore), and Rep. Alan Baker (R-Brewton).
“When you look at the digital world we live in today, access to broadband infrastructure is just as important, in many ways, as having access to electricity or running water,” said Sen. Albritton. “But for many Alabamians, especially those living in tougher to access, rural areas of our state, getting connected to high-speed internet is difficult and expensive. That’s why the programs we have funded through the legislature are so important; they give internet service providers the support needed to connect these hard-to-reach areas so that no Alabamians are left out. I have been proud to support broadband expansion in my leadership role in the Alabama Senate, and I will continue my work on this issue until all Alabamians have access to the 21st-century technologies needed for everyday life.”
Albritton is a 2024 candidate for Congress in Alabama’s Second Congressional District. Eight candidates in total are running in the March 5 Republican primary, and 13 Democrats are running in the CD2 Democratic primary.
Escambia and Baldwin Counties are receiving more than $17 million in grant and matching funds committed for broadband projects. These projects will give more than 3,600 currently unserved addresses the ability to be connected to broadband. These projects will result in over 140 miles of new fiber. The overall success of the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund (ABAF) was also discussed.
ABAF is funded by the Alabama Legislature and supports targeted projects in communities in need of high-speed internet access. These funds are awarded by Governor Ivey and managed by ADECA. The grant awards give internet service providers the ability to execute projects that connect individual households, businesses, community anchor institutions such as libraries and schools, and others to broadband infrastructure.
“Our continued progress in expanding high-speed internet access would not be possible without a unified team working hard every day to accomplish our state’s broadband goals,” said Director Boswell. “This team includes Governor Ivey, the Alabama Legislature, internet service providers, and others too many to name working together to make sure Alabama residents and Alabama communities have the tools needed to thrive.”
Since 2018, Alabama has invested approximately $82 million in state dollars through grant awards supporting more than 100 projects through the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund. Once all Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund projects awarded to date have been completed, access to broadband service will be available to more than 72,000 Alabama households, businesses, and community institutions that currently have no option to subscribe.
The federal government has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into expanding broadband services in Alabama through the American Rescue Plan Act and the Build Back Better Infrastructure Bill.
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