GOOD NEWS - Rural Broadband Grants Administered: Access to broadband is a request that almost every large-scale employer makes when choosing a site within our state. As a response to the growing need for connectivity, in March 2018, Governor Kay Ivey signed the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Act into law, which authorized the creation of a broadband accessibility grant program. The bill, sponsored by Senator Clay Scofield and Representative Donnie Chesteen, created the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund. This is a great start to achieving the goal of accessibility in all areas of Alabama.
Many rural counties do not initially have the tax base or level of population to fund the infrastructure needed for high-speed internet. The Broadband Accessibility Fund provides financial assistance in the form of grants for service providers to supply high-speed internet services in rural areas with 25,000 residents or less. Under the law, awards shall not exceed 20 percent of the total project cost.
A team effort is needed to help achieve the goal of broadband accessibility, which includes state assistance for the infrastructure administered by ADECA, federal assistance through the USDA, and private sector investments. High-speed internet is needed for jobs, health care, public safety, and education - all which are integral to Alabamians' quality of life.
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