By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday, October 22 State Representative David Standridge (R from Hayden) who is Chairman of the House Rural Caucus commented on Governor Robert Bentley’s broadband announcement earlier this week.
Rep. Standridge said, “I am pleased to learn of the governor’s recent statement of support for statewide broadband. Having accessible high speed Internet throughout the state has long been a priority for the Rural Caucus. As our world becomes more globally diverse, especially in relation to the economy, reliable Internet service is a must. This announcement is especially timely considering the ALEA’s recent decision to shutter rural driver license offices in favor of online services, services which are currently unavailable to many rural citizens.”
State Representative Standridge continued, “High speed Internet will allow rural Alabamians to compete in the global market place. The Rural Caucus is committed to bringing the goods and services of rural Alabama to Internet users across the globe and to providing our citizens with the educational and economic opportunities the Internet provides. We look forward to working with the governor to bring internet access, which in today’s world is quickly becoming a necessary utility, to those Alabamians who choose to live in rural communities.”
Access to broadband is increasingly in demand by both citizens; but by business as well when they select a new site to locate to. Much of rural Alabama lacks broadband access.
Governor Robert Bentley did not release any of the details; but told Fox Channel Six in Birmingham that he would release his plan by October 30. In July the Governor created the Office of Broadband Development. Gov. Bentley said then, “The Office of Broadband Development allows Alabama to more effectively meet the demands of our businesses and citizens in an ever growing digital age. Broadband development is critical in Alabama’s continued economic growth, and I am confident that this newly created office will help us in reaching statewide goals in the areas of public safety, healthcare, education, e-Government, agriculture, tourism, economic development and more.”
The Office of Broadband Development was tasked with assessing broadband coverage and gaps in service across the state.
The Director of Broadband Development Kathy Johnson said, “Broadband, commonly referred to as high-speed Internet, was considered a luxury a few short years ago. This technology, however, is now critical to everything from economic development to Public Safety. I am excited to be working on this vital program that will help support Governor Bentley’s efforts to attract and retain well-paying jobs, provide access to healthcare and education in all Alabama communities, make our communities safer and more productive, and enhance the quality of life for all Alabamians.”
Representative David Standridge represents District 34 in the Alabama House of Representatives, which includes parts of Blount and Marshall Counties.