Ardmore Telephone upgrades broadband access to rural North Alabama communities

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – Teleworking can be challenging without WiFi access, but it could be especially troubling for rural communities that lack the technology for high-speed Internet.

That situation is turning around.

Internet service will now be faster and stronger for rural communities in North Alabama and parts of Tennessee. Hundreds of miles of fiber optic cable will replace the copper network system that made internet connectivity difficult to use.

The struggle is real

“Fiber has been termed future proof. And what that means is that nothing right now that we know of really travels faster than the speed of light,” said Ardmore Telephone Company Chief Operating Officer Karen Jackson-Furman.

Jackson-Furman said that speed of light information transmission will allow rural families to download and upload large files, and stream video better than before.

Construction workers were seen in New Market Tuesday morning installing fiber optic cable. Crew members said fiber optic cable is usually buried underground. But as a cost saving measure, the guys said they will attach some of that cable to existing fiber cables on the electrical poles.

Coiling-up a solution

This project could finally happen because of a $20 million dollar loan from the United States Department of Agriculture. Jackson-Furman said it’s been a two year wait.

“We have many customers that right now that’s living with a 3 [megabit] connection and we understand in today’s times that’s not sufficient,” said Jackson-Furman.

For teleworking parents and students, Jackson-Furman said insufficient Internet access shouldn’t cripple workflow because of where you live.

This Internet thing is important

“They deserve the same connectivity and the same technological opportunities,” said Jackson-Furman. Ninety percent of the network will run through fiber connections after upgrades are complete.

Madison County Schools Public Information Officer Tim Hall said broadband access has been a game changer. Not too long ago, the Huntsville Facebook Data Center donated nearly $1 million dollars to help the district enhance connectivity for all students.

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