Gov. Ivey announces broadband grant for SW Escambia, NW Baldwin

Special to Atmore News

Gov. Kay Ivey announced last week that she has awarded nine grants, totaling nearly $25 million, to expand broadband services throughout Alabama, including more than $4 million for parts of rural Baldwin and Escambia counties.
The grant package included $4.05 million to Mediacom for providing broadband service connectivity for 1,756 households, businesses and community anchors in northwest Baldwin County and southwest Escambia County, between Bay Minette and Atmore.
No specifics were announced, but most of the money will reportedly be spent on establishing access to broadband service for roughly 20,000 customers in Perdido and in Lottie, Little River and other tiny communities that straddle the Baldwin-Escambia county lines.
The nine grants, totaling $24.72 million, were awarded to broadband providers across the state to support projects in unserved or underserved areas.
“Broadband continues to be a top priority of my administration, and as we continue to move into these next four years, we’re taking our broadband journey with us,” the governor said. “The projects underway reach across the state and will allow better access to opportunities in education, health care, business and other normalcies of life.”
Households and businesses must subscribe to paid service to receive broadband. Broadband providers supply only the access, but households and businesses must still pay for connecting to the service. The expansion will also provide additional links to make it more feasible to supply future broadband service within those areas.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) administers Broadband Accessibility Fund grants from state government funds allocated by the Legislature. Funds are issued through ADECA’s Alabama Digital Expansion Division, which was created by legislation in 2021 to focus on broadband expansion in Alabama.
Baldwin County also received another $2.91 million for Mediacom to provide internet access affecting 1,895 households, businesses and community anchors in an area near the city of Robertsdale. More than $6 million will be allocated to Mobile County, for broadband expansion and internet service in Grand Bay, Wilmer and Mt. Vernon.
Including the most recently announced grants, Gov. Ivey has awarded Broadband Accessibility Fund grants totaling $88.6 million to support 109 projects across Alabama since the fund’s start in 2018.
“ADECA is honored to be administering this program that will improve the lives of so many Alabamians,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “It is our goal to carry out our duties with this program efficiently and effectively and in the best manner conceivable so that we reach as many Alabamians as possible.”