Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced a $200,000 grant to the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative to provide high-speed internet services to a section of Coosa County. Nearly 70 households and at least one business in the Richville community will gain broadband access, according to a press release from the Office of the Governor.
“Today, high-speed internet is a critical element to ensuring a high quality of life,” Gov. Ivey said.
The project is the first part of a project to create a 365-mile-wide fiber optic ring, connecting the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative to 24 electric substations and six offices along with nearby residences and businesses.
CAEC president and CEO Tom Stackhouse expressed gratefulness to the Appalachian Regional Commission, the agency that provided the grant, Gov. Ivey and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. “This project will be a game-changer for people who live in rural Alabama,” he said.
The ARC is a federal-state partnership that works with the people of Appalachia to improve quality of life. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs administers the ARC program in Alabama.
“Governor Ivey is committed to ensuring that Alabama’s rural communities are not left behind as technology advances,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “ADECA is proud to join with Governor Ivey, Central Alabama Electric Cooperative and ARC in this endeavor.”
Expanding rural broadband is an important issue for many Alabamians. Many Alabamians are still left behind, and the research website BroadbandNow says that, prior to this project, 24 percent of the population is underserved.