$59 million broadband project coming

Published 2:38 am Sunday, October 31, 2010

All of Dallas and seven surrounding counties will soon have broadband capabilities once Trillion Communications completes a $59 million project enabling a majority of the region access to the services.

“It’s not just for engineers, it’s going to be for everyone,” said Sheryl Smedley, director of the Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce.

The grant is part of a statewide allotment of $180 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The act will give broadband access to households in previously unreachable parts of the country. The hope is people can work or search for employment online and communities can establish the high-speed Internet needed to advance current jobs and improve education.

This will reach areas outside Selma, such as Selmont, and will make the price of the services more affordable, Smedley said.

Trillion formed a partnership with the South Central Alabama Broadband Commission, a coalition of local governments, colleges and universities, medical providers and nonprofit institutions in Butler, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Escambia, Lowndes, Macon and Wilcox counties.

The Commission and broadband project will bring services to about 72,000 households and 3,000 businesses, 91 schools, four libraries, five community colleges, two additional institutions of higher education, 16 healthcare facilities and 219 government buildings and centers in the region.

“It’s going to be a good thing for our area because it’s not just going to be for infrastructure and residents, it’s going to be educational-related,” Smedley said.