Selma building fiber broadband infrastructure

Published 6:41 pm Monday, March 4, 2024

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The City of Selma will receive a high-speed broadband network in the near future.

At a March 2 press conference, Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. announced a partnership with Yellowhammer Networks to build a fiber broadband infrastructure across the entire Queen city.

Jane F. Garvey, global chairman for Meridiam Infrastructure, which owns and finances Yellowhammer Networks, attended the conference as did Post Road Foundation President and Co-Founder Seth Hoedl and Bishop Timothy Paul, President of Omnipoint Technology, Inc.

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“High-speed reliable broadband is no longer nice to have,” Perkins said. “Today, it’s as important as gas, water, and electricity. In our increasingly digital society, cities without access to fiber broadband risk falling behind.”

Garvey praised the leadership of Perkins, Selma’s first African American mayor.

“We thank Perkins for his hospitality and leadership,” Garvey said. “It’s a long-term partnership. Nothing proceeds without a local chairperson.”

Yellowhammer Networks will fund the entire 100% of the project, investing $45 million in the city and $230 million across the region. Selma’s fiber network is being developed and deployed at no cost to the city or its taxpayers. Yellowhammer will bring strategic, technical, operational expertise and financial resources.

“Meridiam is dedicated to filling critical fiber infrastructure gaps and helping eliminate the divide that excludes millions of people from our digital society and compromises economic growth for all,” Americas Meridiam CEO Nicolas Rubio said.  “Yellowhammer Networks is determined to make high-speed fiber broadband accessible to residents throughout Selma and the region regardless of their income levels.”  

Once the project is completed, Yellowhamer network will connect fiber broadband to 53,000 homes and businesses in Selma, Demopolis and 15 other towns across the region. 

In Selma, the fiber broadband network will pass at least 85% of homes and businesses, regardless of residents’ income levels. Construction starts this month with a network connection estimate that will be available to the first Selma residents by the end of June. The network expects completion by June 2027.  

“The Courageous Free Thinkers Celebration is the perfect occasion to promote the free-thinking opportunities during the struggle for broadband equality for all,” Omnipoint Technology CEO Timothy Paul said. “Omnipoint is proud to offer affordable broadband services to the City of Selma, closing the digital divide.”  

Yellowhammer Networks and Omnipoint will work with local officials and non-profit groups to develop and deploy comprehensive digital equity programs, including connecting qualifying low-income residents to service, equipment, device subsidies and digital literacy programs to equip participants for the digital era.

“This broadband project in Selma is a model for communities nationwide seeking to build a foundation for the 21st century,” Post Road Foundation President Seth Hoedl said. “Ubiquitous fiber in combination with comprehensive digital equity programs enable communities to thrive and flourish – cutting-edge jobs and job training, educational opportunities, high quality healthcare, a smarter, more reliable, cleaner and lower cost electric grid, and other applications that we cannot even dream of are just some of the expected, long-term benefits.”  

Selma City Councilwomen Lesia James and Jannie Thomas and Orrville Mayor Lovenia Lumpkin attended the event.