WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) today announced six rural broadband awards for infrastructure projects around the state, totaling $37 million in federal funding. The funding, awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has been made available through the department’s Broadband ReConnect Program.
“Connectivity is critically important for families, businesses, farms, and public safety and community services – particularly during a time when remote access is paramount,” said Senator Shelby. “These USDA grants will help provide high-speed internet access to thousands of Alabamians in rural areas. I am proud that the Administration has awarded this $37 million investment to our state and look forward to the benefits it will bring to 14 counties in central Alabama.”
The USDA funding will impact the following Alabama counties: Autauga, Bibb, Chilton, Choctaw, Coosa, Crenshaw, Ellmore, Hale, Lowndes, Marengo, Montgomery, Perry, Talladega, and Washington.
The ReConnect Program, administered by the USDA Rural Development Rural Utility Service, is a broadband pilot program created by Congress to provide USDA Rural Development financing and funding options for broadband deployment in rural areas that lack sufficient access to broadband. These investments are part of the $550 million Congress appropriated to the second round of the ReConnect Program in Fiscal Year 2019. As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Shelby has secured more than $1.7 billion in federal funding the ReConnect Program since 2018. The CARES Act, passed in March, provided an additional $100 million for grants under the ReConnect Program.
Detailed information on the USDA ReConnect grants for broadband infrastructure projects in Alabama is as follows:
- Millry Telephone Company – $8.3 million to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 4,444 people, 84 farms, 46 businesses, four fire stations, and a post office to high-speed broadband internet in Choctaw and Washington counties in Alabama.
- Hayneville Telephone Company – $1.5 million to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 1,481 people, 19 farms, nine businesses, and four educational facilities to high-speed broadband internet in Lowndes County, Alabama.
- Central Alabama Electric Cooperative – $8.6 million to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 13,853 people, 149 farms, 77 businesses, and one fire station to high-speed broadband internet in Bibb, Chilton, Perry, Autauga, Talladega, Elmore, and Coosa counties in Alabama.
- Mon-Cre Telephone Cooperative – $5.8 million to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 2,546 people, 36 farms, 19 businesses, and three fire stations to high-speed broadband internet in Crenshaw, Lowndes, and Montgomery counties in Alabama.
- Moundville Telephone Company – $166,000 to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 111 people and a farm to high-speed broadband internet in Hale County, Alabama.
- Pine Belt Telephone Company – $6.5 million grant and $6.5 million loan to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 5,799 people, 143 farms, 83 businesses, five fire stations, five educational facilities and four post offices to high-speed broadband internet in Perry, Hale, and Marengo counties in Alabama.