Rep. Sewell announces plan to expand broadband access across the state

Published 8:52 am Monday, January 30, 2023

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Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) unveiled that the state will get $191.9 million in funding from President Biden and Congressional Democrats’ American Rescue Plan to expand broadband access.

The funds will come from the ARP’s Capital Projects Fund, enabling 55,000 households and businesses across the state to high-speed internet. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also invested in the program. “The COVID-19 pandemic made clear what we already knew—access to affordable, high-speed internet is critical to the success of Alabama’s families and businesses,” Sewell said. “I’m proud to see that Alabama is finally getting the resources it needs to expand broadband access to our rural and underserved urban communities.”

With guidance from the treasury, the state’s plan requires service providers to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s new Affordable Connectivity Program.

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The Affordable Connectivity Program helps ensure that households can afford the high-speed internet they need for work, school, healthcare, and more by providing a discount of up to $30 per month (or up to $75 per eligible household on Tribal lands). Experts estimate that nearly 40% of U.S. households are eligible for the program.

“The pandemic upended life as we knew it and exposed the stark inequity in access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet in communities across the country, including rural, Tribal, and other underrepresented communities,” Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said. “This funding is a key piece of the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic investments to increase access to high-speed internet for millions of Americans and provide more opportunities to fully participate and compete in the 21st century economy.”