Lawmakers work to bring better Internet to rural Alabama

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WDHN) — Lawmakers and Gov. Kay Ivey agree that high-speed internet is the way to grow the state but unfortunately for many parts of Alabama access is slim.

“Broadband is the speed and the upload and download speed of information,” said Jaunita Owes, Montgomery Public Library director.

Owes knows first-hand the impact not having access to high-speed internet can have on people.

“It’s essential that you have a fast broadband speed for particularly for public libraries,” she said.

Owes said most of their visitors don’t have internet at home.

Ivey recently signed legislation to try to make broadband more available to Alabamians — particularly in the rural areas.

“I applaud the legislature doing that because it is something that we needed,” Owes said.

According to lawmakers, about 800,000 Alabamians don’t have broadband in their homes.

Rep. Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville, said this not just a problem in rural areas.

“Right now, you have access that allows schools and some businesses, but really getting that down to the home level is what’s important and a goal for us,” Daniels said.

The legislature has added 20 million dollars to the rural broadband grant program.

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