Over half a million people in Alabama don’t have internet access; could the infrastructure bill could change that?

Alabama News

(AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

October 02 2021 06:00 pm

BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) — One thing is for sure if the highly anticipated Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passes: a minimum of $100 million would be allocated to Alabama to improve broadband coverage and access, according to a new report issued by the White House Wednesday.

At least over half a million Alabamians lack broadband access, according to the report, and for some, internet is a necessity that even at present they can’t afford.

The funds would increase the availability of broadband service as well as provide monetary assistance to Alabamians who struggle to pay for internet. 1,518,000 Alabamians, roughly 31% of state residents, would be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which would help low-income families afford internet access.

The federal government’s support of broadband access follows an increased focus on the issue from state legislators and businesses in Alabama. Alabama Power and Tombigbee Electric Cooperative announced in June a partnership with Alabama to provide high-speed broadband internet access in Fayette County, and state leaders are currently working on a map of broadband access in Alabama to pinpoint exactly what areas have limited or no access.

Republican State Senator Clay Scofield, R-Guntersville, who was recently named chair of the Alabama Digital Expansion Authority, said in a previous interview with CBS 42 that the future of broadband in Alabama looks bright.

“I think within the next few years, the people of Alabama are going to see significant improvements throughout the state in terms of connectivity,” Scofield said.

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