Governor Kay Ivey announced that she has awarded more than $1.14 million in grants to provide access to high-speed internet in several Alabama communities.
The Broadband Accessibility Fund will provide grants for service providers to supply high-speed internet services in unincorporated areas or communities with 25,000 people or less.
“Your child in these days and age has a hard time doing homework, and you have a hard time getting a security system for your home because most of that stuff runs over the internet,” Houston County District 4 Commissioner Brandon Shoupe said. “It’s just that most, the modern world sort of expects that you’re home is going to have internet, and when you don’t have it, you know, it can be a major inconvenience.”
Troy Cablevision received a $575,115 grant for connectivity in multiple areas in Houston County near Cottonwood and Gordon, and between Webb and Columbia. The grant will help Geneva County, near Slocomb, Coffee Springs, Geneva, and Samson.
“There are people inside the city limits of Dothan that don’t have any internet access at all and there are people that they believe they’re paying to much,” Shoupe said. “They’re not getting good quality service, and in my opinion, and in the opinion of some other folks, there’s just not enough. Even though we got a lot of people here providing internet service, there’s just at your particular house, not enough competition.”
The project will cover 79 miles and provide connectivity for 878 residences, 76 businesses and three community locations including schools, libraries, fire stations, and community centers.
“We want to try and increase that competition, increase the quality of service, and bring down the price, and increase speed,” Shoupe said. “So, we’re trying to help the people who do have it, so they have a better experience, and the people that don’t have it, so that they have something, so that’s kind of a two-prong strategy.”
The fund was created by the Alabama legislature and signed into law by Gov. Ivey in March 2018 to provide high-speed internet in underserved communities.