Ivey makes 3rd broadband expansion tour stop in Atmore

Published 1:43 pm Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Gov. Kay Ivey made her third stop during her broadband tour at Atmore Community Hospital on Dec. 13.

Ivey was joined by Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) Director Kenneth Boswell, Atmore Community Hospital Administrator Brad Lowery, state Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) and state Rep. Alan Baker (R-Brewton).

She discussed upcoming broadband projects in Escambia and Baldwin Counties, and throughout the state. Additionally, she highlighted the importance of broadband in areas like healthcare, education, business and day-to-day life.

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“Broadband accessibility is essential,” Ivey said. “It is now critical to 10s of thousands of Alabamians.”
Ivey credited the state’s leadership in making progress for broadband access. She noted $17 million worth of projects alone in Escambia and Baldwin Counties.

“That’s a significant milestone,” she said.

Lowery said having broadband access is a big deal, especially for rural healthcare.

He spoke about how UAB’s telehealth program has been a big partner in providing the services.

“They make a difference in people’s healthcare,” he said.

Albritton spoke on how the broadband infrastructure is costly, and with leadership, the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund was established.

Since 2018, Alabama has invested approximately $82 million in state dollars through grant awards supporting more than 100 projects through the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund. Once all Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund projects awarded to date have been completed, access to broadband service will be available to more than 72,000 Alabama households, businesses and community institutions that currently have no option to subscribe.

Albritton said Mediacom has also been a major player.

“We have now more reliable signal, and more access than we have before,” he said. “Today, we are here to recognize and celebrate advancements in the 21st century.”

Baker spoke about how the broadband expansion initiative is a journey. He recognized individuals who have helped in the endeavor.

“There are of course huge benefits with broadband expansion,” Baker said, adding that it helps with telemedicine, education and economics. “This is something to be proud of.”

Alabamians interested in learning more about what the state is doing to expand high-speed internet access are encouraged to visit the Be Linked Alabama website, a hub of internet expansion information and news. It includes the Alabama Broadband Map, county profiles and dashboards and statewide broadband news.

Be Linked Alabama represents the state’s united effort to expand access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet. As Alabama works toward achieving the goal of high-speed internet access for all, the statewide initiative is coordinated by ADECA and brings together partners from across the state, including Governor Ivey, the Alabama Legislature, internet service providers, research institutions, utility companies, community leaders and the public.