A dozen internet service providers in Alabama received grants totaling $188 million to install more than 4,000 miles of middle-mile broadband projects throughout the state, Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday.
The grants from the Alabama Anchor Institution and Middle Mile Grant Program are intended to help fill gaps in broadband expansion while also making it more economically feasible and less labor intensive for providers to extend services in the state. The grant funds were created from an allocation by the state legislature through its American Rescue Plan Act funds.
“Rural Alabama, like so many other places in the state, is in need of increased access to high-speed internet, and today we are taking a significant stride in our journey toward full broadband access,” Ivey said in a release. “These middle-mile projects will be extremely beneficial to our anchor institutions, and it puts us in a desirable situation where the ‘last mile’ projects will supply broadband services to businesses and households are more economical and attainable.”
Anchor institutions in these expansion plans include schools, hospitals, medical facilities and government buildings, according to the release. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will administer the program through its Digital Expansion Division.
“ADECA is pleased to be involved in this broadband-expansion effort that will benefit so many people and improve lives,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said in a statement. “I am grateful to Gov. Ivey and the Alabama Legislature for having the confidence to entrust ADECA with this all-important program.”