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Ivey announces $53.5 million for broadband projects in 24 counties

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — More than a third of Alabama’s 67 counties will see improved access to high-speed internet through a $53.5 million investment in the state’s ongoing broadband expansion efforts, Gov. Kay Ivey said Tuesday.

The spending comes from the state’s more than $2 billion federal American Rescue Plan Act funding, of which lawmakers in 2021 and 2022 dedicated about $500 million to broadband expansion. Other federal and state funds are also propelling the massive connectivity undertaking.

The money will go toward the state’s Anchor Institution Middle Mile Program, which will connect about 120 community anchor facilities such as universities and hospitals.

“This project will add approximately 1,095 miles of high-speed middle-mile broadband for our communities, and it will connect approximately 120 community anchors, like educational institutions, medical facilities, local government offices and police and fire departments to this service,” Ivey said Tuesday in a statement. 

“Just as important, it puts us closer in Alabama to ensuring that everyone has access to this fundamental service.”

The investment will improve connectivity for 24 counties stretching across the state, from Dekalb County in the northeast to Mobile County in the southwest. It’s also estimated by Ivey’s office to bring more than 7,500 unserved business and residences within five miles of high-speed internet connectivity.

Like previous broadband grants, this latest broadband expansion effort will be administered by the Alabama Digital Expansion Division, an arm of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs established by Ivey exclusively to focus on broadband expansion efforts.

“This grant phase is another giant step in the long, but attainable process of providing high-speed internet to every corner of the state,” said ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell in a statement.

“I commend the Alabama Fiber Network for this cooperative effort and their major role in this venture. I appreciate the confidence that Governor Ivey and the Alabama Legislature has shown in ADECA by entrusting us with this life-changing program.”

Impacted counties include Baldwin, Coffee, Colbert, Covington, Dale, Dallas, DeKalb, Elmore, Etowah, Franklin, Hale, Jefferson, Lee, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marshall, Mobile, Montgomery, Perry, Russell, Tuscaloosa and Walker counties.

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