Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Opinion | Broadband expansion is on the way

This is much-needed news for many in Alabama — especially in our rural areas.


Last week, the Alabama Senate passed three bills sponsored by Sen. Clay Scofield, the Senate Majority Leader. The legislation allows the expansion of broadband access across our state. This is much-needed news for many in Alabama – especially in our rural areas and for our small businesses and school-aged children. For too many years there has been a digital divide in our state, and now relief is on the way. 

Approximately one-fifth of Alabama households don’t have access to the internet, and many others don’t have high-speed internet.

Sen. Scofield has long been an advocate and championed the need for expanding broadband infrastructure and providing high-speed internet services throughout our state.

Scofield chairs The Alabama Digital Expansion Authority. He and his colleagues on the authority recently announced the Alabama Broadband Map. The map displays a detailed account of internet coverage as it exists in Alabama. Obviously, there is much room for coverage improvement. 

State Rep. Randall Shedd of Fairview will be carrying the legislation in the House of Representatives. Between he and Sen. Scofield, who both live in rural areas of the state, they will get it done. Both legislators have dedicated much time, energy and effort to this cause and are to be commended for their work.

There are federal funds we can utilize to expand broadband, and there could be a constitutional amendment on our November ballot if it passes both chambers of the Legislature. If approved by voters, the legislation would allow grants from cities and counties to assist with broadband expansion.

Alabama received approximately $1.7 billion from ARPA funds (a pandemic relief bill passed by congress). The Legislature approved the money to be used for the expansion of broadband across the state and for water and sewer projects.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Recently the Legislature approved another $277 million of the money allotted to the state from ARPA for broadband expansion. There are also incentives for companies to provide broadband to unserved areas of our state as well.

The state will receive another $1 billion in ARPA funding later this year. Sen. Scofield wants 50 percent of that to go toward expanding broadband. Hopefully, all these measures will help our state enter the 21st century — and not a moment too soon.

Written By

Beth Chapman is Alabama’s former State Auditor and 51st Secretary of State. She now owns and operates Beth Chapman & Associates, LLC. She can be reached at [email protected]



With few laws and no governing body, gambling in Alabama is spreading like wildfire. Even if most people don't realize it.


The primary issues for municipalities, including broadband and waste infrastructure, were addressed in meaningful ways, executive director Greg Cochran said.


It has already accrued a number of lawsuits challenging its legality since its passage during the 2022 legislative session.


More than 270 bills passed by the House and Senate were enacted during the 2022 legislative session.