ADECA to host Broadband Accessibility Fund workshop May 24
A new grant program aimed at increasing the availability of affordable high-speed internet in rural Alabama is taking its first steps from idea to reality with a workshop May 24 in Montgomery.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is hosting the application workshop for the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund, which was established earlier this year by the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Act passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Kay Ivey. ADECA will accept applications for the first grants from the fund for a mandated 150-day period from May 28 to Oct. 24. The program is for non-government entities that provide broadband service and are seeking to expand the availability of high-speed internet to previously unserved areas.
“Broadband is one of the most critical infrastructure needs in rural Alabama because it has become an essential component in economic development, education, health care, emergency services and in nearly every other facet of life,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “For years, ADECA has partnered with local communities to improve traditional infrastructure like water and sewer. Now, Governor Ivey and the legislature have entrusted ADECA to do the same with high-speed internet, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that this program gets cable in the ground so that more homes and businesses are served by broadband.”
Non-government entities may apply for grants of the lesser of 20 percent of the project costs or $750,000 for projects that will result in download speeds of at least 10 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of 1 Mbps or $1.4 million for projects that will result in download speeds of 25 Mbps and upload speeds of 3 Mbps. The grants will reimburse construction costs of new cable only, and projects must be completed within two years.
After the grant application period ends on Oct. 24, the applications will be posted online and existing service providers will have a 30-day window to file objections to the eligibility of proposed projects. The first grant awards are expected to be announced in early 2019.
The workshop will be held at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 24 at the Alabama Center for Commerce building in downtown Montgomery. Seating is limited, so all attendees must register in advance by calling (334) 242-5292 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. An online version of workshop will be posted on ADECA’s website after May 28.
For more information about the program, visit www.adeca.alabama.gov/broadband.
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