Alabama cable providers plan to invest $13 million to bring broadband to the states’ highest number of unserved homes, businesses, and community anchor points such as hospitals and libraries. Made possible by the 2018 Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund (ABAF), the full $13 million investment is enabled by ABAF funding that grants up to 35 percent of project costs.
According to WTVY.com, 18 grants within the ABAF cycle were applied for by Alabama cable providers to cover almost 8,000 un- and underserved homes and businesses. Grant guidelines emphasize low cost, highest broadband speeds, and best level of service.
“Alabama’s cable companies have been providing broadband to rural consumers since the late 1990s and we continue efforts to expand broadband in rural areas,” said Michelle Roth, executive director of the Alabama Cable and Broadband Association (ACBA). “The projects in these grant applications extend high speed internet services to rural Alabamians who currently have no access to them.”
Administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, projects including the highest broadband speeds will be given top ranking in the evaluation process. Applicants that fail to meet the standards of extending broadband to unserved parts of the state will be ruled out.
Roth further explained the program’s mission by saying, “We are for a fair and open process that does not use taxpayer dollars to duplicate service to customers who already have access to broadband service. In light of the current public health concerns that are forcing our students online for their education, we’ve all got to make sure we first roll out new broadband service to rural customers who don’t already have it.”
ACBA member companies Otelco, Charter, and Troy Cablevision have been recognized as potential broadband investors across north, central and southern Alabama. Find more information about Alabama Broadband here.