Pine Belt awarded $10M grant

Published 11:35 pm Thursday, October 4, 2012

By Matt Cole

The Demopolis Times


Pine Belt Wireless received a $10 million grant this week from the FCC to install new cell towers across rural areas of the Black Belt, including Marengo County.

The grant will improve cell and data service in rural parts of Marengo, Choctaw, Dallas, Perry and Wilcox counties that currently have limited service.

Pine Belt President John Nettles said 21 areas his company services lack data coverage. The grant will pay for improvements in 15 of those places.

“We applied for it in 15 of our 21 areas without service,” he said, “and received the grant in all 15 that we applied for.”

Nettles said with the grant comes high obligations from the FCC, including having to establish a line of credit with a top-50 U.S. bank.

The cell towers will be placed with the intention of helping people who live away from the main roads to get cell phone and data service.

“This is a game-changer for our company,” Nettles said. “… it means improved service …”