Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday announced a Broadband Working Group to gather input and guidance on allocation of CARES Act monies. The group will be facilitated by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.
The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act, appropriated $1.9 billion to Alabama to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic. Alabama Act 2020-199 divided the state funds into 10 categories and charged up to $300 million to be spent to expand broadband statewide.
“Our state has serious gaps in broadband coverage, and we must do everything possible to ensure as many of our residents and businesses have access to a service that has become a vital part of today’s world whether through education, business, healthcare or dozens of other vital areas,” Ivey said. “I am proud to establish this group of esteemed individuals to help us lay the groundwork moving forward.”
Members of the Broadband Working Group include:
- Kenneth Boswell, Director — Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs
- Michelle Roth — Alabama Cable & Broadband Association
- Marcus Campbell — Alabama County Commission Association
- Mayor Gary Fuller — Alabama League of Municipalities
- Jason Davis — Alabama Power
- Cedric Hudson — Alabama Rural Broadband Coalition & Perry County Commissioner
- Sean Strickler — Alabama Rural Electric Association
- Trip Horne — ALFA
- Wayne Hutchens — AT&T
- Dr. R. Mark Nelms — Auburn University
- Katie Britt — Business Council of Alabama
- Kelly Butler — Alabama Department of Finance
- Fred Johnson — Farmers Teleco
- Lindsay Rane Carter — Great Southern Wood
- Abe Carter — Harper Technologies
- Taylor Smith — PowerSouth
- Jeremy Fisher — TVA
- Dr. Eric Wallace — UAB
- Andy Newton — Uniti Fiber
- Dr. Curt Carver — University of Alabama
- Bob Davis — Verizon
ADECA administers the Broadband Accessibility Fund which was created to assist broadband providers in extending high-speed internet service in unserved areas of the state or in areas lacking minimum threshold service. ADECA is also requesting voluntary information on broadband internet access and speed from residents and businesses. Alabamians are encouraged to take the speed survey to help locate gaps in broadband service.
A meeting of the Broadband Working Group will be virtually held on Friday, June 26, at 11 a.m.