Joint effort brings new internet option

Published 2:02 pm Tuesday, April 9, 2024

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Dragonfly Internet and Alabama Power have joined forces to usher high-speed Internet into Escambia County to significantly enhance the quality of life for residents of Brewton and East Brewton.
By targeting these previously underserved communities, the partnership will help close the digital divide and also open a realm of opportunities in education, healthcare, and economic development for the residents of these cities.
David Hartin, CEO of Dragonfly Internet, hailed the collaboration as a transformative force.
“Our efforts with Alabama Power create a unique opportunity to bring truly high-speed internet to small towns across Alabama in a much more cost-effective manner than traditional ways of deploying networks,” Hartin said. “Brewton will become one of the first 10-Gig towns in the state unlocking opportunities for better jobs, healthcare, and education for all its citizens.”
Patrick Murphy, Vice President of Alabama Power’s Mobile Division, echoed Hartin’s sentiment, emphasizing the shared commitment between the two entities.
“Through the fusion of our resources and expertise, we stand ready to provide access to an infrastructure to foster Escambia County’s growth for generations to come,” Murphy said.
Brewton Mayor Yank Lovelace has been instrumental in negotiations Dragonfly and Alabama Power to bring another internet option to residents and businesses in the city.
“When the infrastructure funding was made available from the state of Alabama, we had numerous companies make proposals to service our city, or improve service here,” Lovelace said. “Over the past year, we have worked with specialists to evaluate those proposals and company capabilities to provide better internet service to Brewton. After thoroughly parsing through all those questions and answers, I am confident the cooperative effort with Dragonfly and Alabama Power, both stable companies with established histories in the industry, will deliver not only on meeting our current needs, but for decades to come.”
Lovelace said he has been working toward improved internet service as a goal for more than a decade. Dragonfly, he said, will install to residential customers and businesses to compete with existing providers all at no cost to the city of Brewton.
The partnership will use Alabama Power’s infrastructure and Dragonfly Internet’s technological prowess to offer broadband services in the cities of Brewton and East Brewton. Dragonfly Internet will lease available capacity on Alabama Power’s fiber infrastructure – put in place to enhance reliability and resiliency for its electric grid – as the backbone network to extend high- speed internet access into underserved areas.
Recent legislation spearheaded by Gov. Kay Ivey, notably House Bill 400 (Broadband Using Electric Easement Accessibility Act) signed in 2019, has paved the way for cooperative ventures like this. This legislation empowers electric providers to lease available, existing infrastructure and easements in support of high-speed internet initiatives.
Beyond addressing immediate connectivity challenges, this partnership exemplifies Dragonfly Internet and Alabama Power’s steadfast dedication to rural development and sets a precedent for public-private collaborations to propel rural America into the digital age.
Christian Patel, Connectivity Team Leader for Alabama Power, touted the partnership as another step towards connecting more Alabamians.
“Over the past four years our state has made significant progress in improving our connectivity infrastructure,” Patel said. “These types of partnerships are a key ingredient to propelling Alabama’s workforce and economy into the future.”
High-speed internet services are expected to be available to Brewton and East Brewton residents and businesses in Fall of 2024. To learn more, visit .

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