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Gov. Ivey reveals ambitious plan to expand high-speed internet access throughout state

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DOTHAN, Ala. – In a significant step towards bridging the digital divide, Gov. Kay Ivey unveiled plans Tuesday morning, Aug. 8, to allocate over $400 million in federal funding and more than $1.4 billion from the U.S. Department of Commerce Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program (BEAD) to enhance high-speed internet access across the state.

The announcement was made during an event in Dothan where Gov. Ivey introduced the name and concept of “Be Linked Alabama,” a strategic initiative aimed at expanding internet access.

Gov. Ivey stressed the importance of providing broadband connectivity to all residents, regardless of their location within the state. She emphasized that the initiative reflects a long-term commitment to ensuring that every county in Alabama has access to high-speed internet.

The project plans to support both “last-mile” connections to homes and businesses as well as the creation of a robust middle-mile infrastructure.

To support these efforts, grant applications for the Capital Projects Fund, totaling $182 million, will be open from Aug. 14 to the end of October, with a focus on establishing crucial connections. Additionally, the new Anchor Institution/Middle Mile (AIMM) program, backed by over $200 million, will extend its reach to around 500 anchor facilities, including educational institutions, hospitals, and government entities.

This groundbreaking initiative is facilitated by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) and involves collaboration among various stakeholders, from government officials and ISPs to research institutions and community leaders.

The newly launched Be Linked Alabama website, broadband.alabama.gov, serves as a hub for updates, resources, and information related to the broadband expansion initiative.


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