Get the Daily News Digest in your inbox each morning. Sign Up

Almost $8 million in grants awarded to expand broadband in north Alabama

Less than a week after kicking off a new billion-dollar initiative to expand broadband in Alabama, internet service providers Spectrum and GoNetSpeed were awarded $7.86 million in grants to expand broadband in four northern Alabama counties.

The funding – allocated by the Alabama Legislature this past legislative session – is expected to make broadband service accessible to more than 6,700 households, businesses and public institutions such as schools and fire departments in Blount, Cullman, Marshall and Morgan counties.

“Alabama continues to make steady strides in expanding the reach of high-speed internet services to all Alabamians,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement. “I appreciate the commitment of the Alabama Legislature in providing this much-needed funding that will enhance local education, improve the delivery of critical public safety services, and grow business opportunity.”

Of the $7.86 million in grants, Spectrum received $5.68 million for two separate projects. At $3.84 million, the first project will provide broadband access for 1,435 households, businesses and public institutions in parts of Marshall and Blount counties, including around the town of Susan Moore and in the McClarty community.

At $1.84 million, the second will provide broadband for 3,610 households, businesses and public institutions in and around Blount County, including the towns of County Line, Hayden and Locust Fork.

The grant funds will be administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, with ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell calling the broadband expansions “historical.”

“ADECA is pleased to be on board with a program that is resulting in life-changing improvements for so many Alabamians,” Boswell said in a statement. 

The $7.86 million in grants to expand broadband are among the first to be allocated as part of the state’s initiative to expand broadband across the state, which is funded largely by the federal government, with Alabama set to receive $1.4 billion as part of the 2021 Infrastructure bill.

ADECA will continue to administer grant funding related to broadband expansion, and regarding the $1.4 billion in federal funding, the department has until Dec. 23, 2023 to submit its plans to the federal government on how it plans to use the $1.4 billion to expand broadband access in the state. Alabama has already invested $88.6 million through grant awards for broadband expansion since 2018, with an estimated 82,000 households, businesses and institutions expected to have internet access once already awarded projects are complete.

Get the Daily News Digest in your inbox each morning.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Web Development By Infomedia