Alabama receives $1.4B to boost broadband access in underserved areas

Capitol
Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery taken on May 30, 2022. (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

The state of Alabama will receive  $1.4 billion from the U.S. Department of Commerce to expand broadband access to underserved areas.

The historic  announcement was made by Governor Kay Ivey after the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released the state allocations from the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD)  program. 

Gov. Ivey Priority

“My priority is for Alabama to gain full ability to be connected to high-speed internet,” said Governor Ivey. “We have taken several significant strides toward this goal, and today’s announcement provides a tremendous boost in the journey toward full broadband access no matter where you live in Alabama.”

The funding for the BEAD program comes from the bi-partisan infrastructure law that passed in November 2021.  Over $40 billion will be allocated to states nationwide making it the single largest federal investment in high-speed internet in our nation’s history. 

The Need

As of 2021, 18% of Alabama households did not have an internet subscription, and 11.5% of Alabama residents live in areas where, under the FCC’s benchmark, there was no broadband infrastructure.

“In our 21st century economy, access to reliable high-speed internet is not a luxury. It is a necessity,” said Rep. Terri Sewell.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, which oversees state broadband initiatives, will be the administering agency for the grant funds. States receiving the funds have 180 days to prepare and submit plans to the NTIA for use of the funds. ADECA’s Alabama Digital Expansion Division will complete Alabama’s required proposal. 

Game-changer

“These funds will be a game-changer for our state, and I look forward to working with ADECA to ensure that they are equitably distributed to HBCUs and underserved communities, including in Birmingham and the Black Belt,” Rep. Sewell added.

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Pat Byington
Pat Byington
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