Shoals area industrial parks are certified ‘fiber-ready’

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) - Another wave of high-speed broadband internet hit the Valley this week. AT&T invested in three Shoals area industrial parks, a big step forward in bringing in big corporations and industry to the area.

"The Florence-Lauderdale industrial park, the Shoals Research Airpark and the Rogersville Business Park are designated as AT&T fiber ready," announced Fred McCallum, AT&T Alabama President. "There is a great partnership here."

Broadband internet is something leaders in the Shoals have been waiting for to put them in the same playing field as larger cities in the state for attracting industries and corporations. Now, three major areas are "shovel-ready".

"These parks are ready to go immediately with assets that they should need to be successful," said Shoals Economic Development President Forrest Wright. "Now, I challenge you to show these parks to AT&T potential clients you may have."

Commerce and economic development leaders said the lack of broadband internet was a big setback when large businesses were looking to locate in the area. Now, they have a seat at the fiber-optic table.

"I told them what we were thinking about doing and hoping to do here in the terms of bandwidth expansion and their comment back was, 'you know, that could be a game changer for us. It may change as to whether we're looking at the Shoals or not,'" said Shoals Chamber President Steve Holt.

Florence-Lauderale Industrial Park is also a certified TVA data center site, another designation they hope will attract big business to the area.

Leaders added that the latest announcement of Custom Synthetic Fibers moving into Rogersville Business Park is only the beginning of a much larger development.