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Senator Clay Scofield plans to introduce a rural broadband initiative in upcoming session

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- Senator Clay Scofield is planning to introduce a package of bills in this upcoming session that he says would open doors for economic development across the State.

"The major thing that I'm working on this year is a rural broadband initiative," Scofield said.

Scofield said it would open doors for broadband coverage in rural and under-served areas across the state. "Economic development used to rely on power, water, oftentimes sewer, roads, and now high-speed internet is in the mix," he adds,"So it's going to be critical in the 21st century for more rural areas, such as the majority of my district, to have high-speed internet for economic development means." He added the initiative would also benefit students in rural and under-served areas.

During last year's session, Scofield focused mainly on Amendment 2. This year, Scofield says he's going to focus on this project that he's been working on for years.

The idea is to utilize tax credits. "In other words, we can make it more affordable using tax credits for companies to expand in under served areas," Scofield explained.

He says it's cost prohibitive for providers to service rural areas with only a handful of customers. "If we can back that with tax credits for that company, they would be much more likely to serve those areas and those customers," Scofield said.

Under the initiative, Scofield said the State wouldn't have to spend any upfront money.