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Ivey awards grants for broadband services

On Monday, Gov. Kay Ivey awarded nearly $17 million to help provide broadband services in primarily rural, unserved areas of Alabama, including two grants in Chambers County.

The 36 grants awarded by Ivey to multiple broadband providers across the state are the largest amount and number awarded to date from the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund. The fund was created by the Alabama Legislature in 2018. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced what we already knew; that Alabama’s broadband coverage is an issue we must continue addressing,” Ivey said in a press release. “Yet, thanks to so many, we are making strides in helping to provide high-speed internet coverage throughout the state. That will make a vast difference for thousands in terms of education, economic development, health care services and everyday life.”

The fund was created to assist broadband providers in extending services to households, businesses and community anchors in areas of the state without adequate service. A community anchor usually refers to a public building like a town hall, fire or police department, school library, post office or community center.

Internet providers were eligible to apply for grants of up to $1.5 million per project. Multiple grants were awarded to single providers for separate projects.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs administers Broadband Accessibility Fund grants in the state.

“Access to broadband can make all the difference in the world to a family or rural business whether it is a child being able to participate in a course not offered at their school or a farmer having to go online to order a piece of equipment vital to his operation,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “ADECA is pleased to join Gov. Ivey in this program that is making real differences in the lives of Alabamians.”

Chambers County received two grants. Roanoke Telephone Co. received $193,221 to provide internet accessibility to 150 households and two businesses in Five Points, while Point Broadband Fiber Holding received $587,000 to provide broadband access capabilities to 316 households and 14 businesses in Chambers, Lee and Tallapoosa counties in the vicinity of the town of Waverly and U.S. Highway 280.

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