Governor Bentley Creates Office of Broadband Development

MONTGOMERY— Governor Bentley on Thursday signed an Executive Order creating the Office of Broadband Development.

“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.”

Broadband infrastructure has been set up in many Alabama communities, but too many areas still lack adequate and affordable access to this important resource. The basic requirements for successfully accessing resources made available through broadband include (1) access to reliable broadband services at affordable costs and at speeds adequate for current and future applications, (2) access to computers and related devices, and (3) knowledge to effectively use these devices and the Internet.

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.

As established in Executive Order 9, Governor Bentley will appoint 19 members to an Advisory Board that has been created to advise the Director on the operation of the Office and report its evaluations to the Governor. 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.

“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.