Bill seeks to expand broadband internet access in rural areas

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WDHN) — Alabama Lawmakers believe there are communities within the state living in the dark ages when it comes to broadband internet access. The lawmakers hope to address this issue soon.

Expanding broadband internet access is not only about internet speed in rural homes. With expanding broadband, it provides a chance for students to learn in today’s world of technology.

Brandon Littleton, a music teacher at Montgomery School of Music, teaches music lessons in the classroom and online. With low broadband internet access, it becomes a difficult task for Littleton and his students. 

“We work for the purpose of providing children and adults a place to learn music. I can’t do that on dial-up, I can’t do that on DSL, I can’t do that even with 50 MEGA Bites download,” Littleton said. 

Lawmakers are discussing a bill to expand broadband internet access to rural and underserved areas. Also, the bill would remove barriers for electric companies to install broadband in those affected areas. 

“If kids in those communities want to get their homework done in the afternoon, they have to go to a spot where there is internet access,” Sen. Greg Reed (R) Jasper said.

However, the bill’s sponsor believes there are challenges the bill faces. 

“It’s been very expensive and infrastructure for broadband has been a barrier and hopefully this is going to remove that,” Rep. Randall Shedd (R) Cullman County said. 

The bill is expected to get a vote in the house Thursday. 

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