MONTGOMERY – Alabama’s efforts to extend access to broadband service to unserved areas received a boost today with the U.S. Treasury Department’s approval of the state’s plan for the Capital Projects Fund, making $191.8 million available for broadband expansion, Governor Kay Ivey announced.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will administer the funds as part of a grant program to support projects to extend service to previously unserved areas of the state.
The use of the funds, which are part of the American Rescue Plan Act, for broadband expansion was approved by the Legislature last year. ADECA then worked to create a plan outlining use of the funds and submitted it to the U.S. Treasury Department in September 2022, with approval announced today.
“Access to broadband is a necessity in today’s world, and I continue to make it a priority that our state has the full ability to be connected to high-speed internet,” said Governor Ivey. “I often say that broadband expansion is a journey, not a short trip. These funds will enable us to take several more strides in that journey toward full access no matter where you live in Alabama.”
The governor has made increasing access to broadband a top priority. She stated during her inaugural address that Alabama will be a national model when it comes to broadband expansion.
ADECA’s Alabama Digital Expansion Division will roll out the competitive grant program in the coming months. The program will be modeled after the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund, which ADECA has administered since 2018. Grants will be available for internet service providers to make “last-mile” connections to previously unserved homes, businesses and community institutions. Once connected, residents will have the ability to become a customer of the broadband providers.
ADECA will announce application details, deadlines and a workshop for the grant program in the coming months. If awarded, providers will have approximately two years to complete the major infrastructure projects which must provide connections of at least 100 megabits per second download/100 megabits per second upload.
“Under Governor Ivey’s leadership and with a strong team effort among the Legislature, internet service providers and many others, the state has made progress in expanding access to high-speed internet,” said ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell. “While the need is still great, these funds will enable us to make further progress in closing the digital divide in Alabama.”
Since 2018, Governor Ivey has awarded $63.9 million in state funds to support 100 projects through the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund. Once all those projects are completed, access to broadband will be available to approximately 61,000 more households, businesses and community institutions that currently have no option to subscribe. The agency has also developed a statewide broadband map and the Alabama Connectivity Plan, which guide the state’s expansion efforts into unserved areas. In September 2022, Governor Ivey announced a grant to support broadband “middle-mile” network infrastructure to improve access for last-mile projects.
ADECA administers a wide range of programs that support law enforcement, victim services, economic development, water resources management, energy conservation and recreation.
Provided by the Office of the Governor of Alabama | governor.alabama.gov