By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama Senate on Thursday approved a bill intended to expand rural access to highspeed broadband internet.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Clay Scofield, R-Guntersville, aims to expand private investment in broadband infrastructure by providing tax incentives to telecommunications and cable companies that invest in rural areas.
Senate Bill 149, the Alabama Rural Broadband Act, was a component of the Senate Republicans’ agenda.
“In the 1930s the infrastructure challenge was electricity, and in the 60s and 70s it was ensuring rural areas had clean drinking water,” Scofield said. “Expanding access to broadband internet is the infrastructure challenge of our day. We must ensure that all Alabamians have an opportunity to succeed in the digital economy. Currently, thousands of families and businesses in rural Alabama are without access to fast broadband. That’s unconscionable.”