Governor Ivey Kicks Off Broadband Tour, Announces Progress in Expanding Broadband Infrastructure

Governor Ivey Kicks Off Broadband Tour, Announces Progress in Expanding Broadband Infrastructure
Governor Kay Ivey gave remarks to the Broadband Tour Stop at Oakman Middle School Tuesday November 28, 2023 in Oakman, Ala. (Governor’s Office /Hal Yeager)

OAKMAN – Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday kicked off her broadband tour at Oakman Middle School in Walker County, announcing the statewide progress being made in expanding high-speed internet.

“As I’ve said many times, our mission to give all Alabamians the ability to access high-speed internet is a journey, not a short trip,” said Governor Ivey. “I’m proud to say that we’re making great progress across the state, providing more Alabamians with the infrastructural resources required when it comes to 21st century success in education, health care, business and the normalcies of everyday life. Expanding our digital infrastructure remains a critical priority for the Ivey Administration.”

At today’s event, Governor Ivey was joined by Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) Director Kenneth Boswell, state Rep. Matt Woods, state Rep. Tim Wadsworth and Oakman Mayor Cory Franks.

The speakers addressed the nearly $12 million in grant and matching funds committed for broadband projects which have been completed to give more than 2,200 residents, who are currently unserved, the ability to be connected in Walker County. Additionally, the overall success of the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund (ABAF) was discussed.

ABAF, which is funded by the Alabama Legislature, supports targeted projects in communities in need of high-speed internet access. These funds, awarded by ADECA, 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.

“Through programs we funded in the Alabama Legislature, our state has been able to complete multiple broadband projects in Walker County, with many more currently underway,” said Reed. “Our unconnected residents need high-speed internet access, and it is imperative that the state of Alabama continues to support projects that give Alabamians the opportunities created by bridging the digital divide. I’ve been proud to support efforts to expand high-speed internet access in the Alabama Senate, and I look forward to continuing working to give Alabamians the access they need.”

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.

“I’m proud of the efforts we have made at ADECA to support critical broadband projects across the state like the ones happening here in Walker County. None of these would be possible without the leadership of Governor Kay Ivey and the support of our Legislature,” said Director Boswell. “They recognize this critical need and have worked to address it. We still have more to accomplish, but with continued support, Alabama will reach its goal to get all of our citizens connected.”

Alabamians interested in learning more about what the state is doing to expand high-speed internet access are encouraged to visit the Be Linked Alabama website, a hub of internet expansion information and news. It includes the Alabama Broadband Map, county profiles and dashboards and statewide broadband news.

Be Linked Alabama represents the state’s united effort to expand access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet. As Alabama works toward achieving the goal of high-speed internet access for all, the statewide initiative is coordinated by ADECA and brings together partners from across the state, including Governor Ivey, the Alabama Legislature, internet service providers, research institutions, utility companies, community leaders and the public.

A link to the photo album from today’s event can be found here for publishing and broadcasting purposes.