State, federal officials talk about high-speed Internet for rural parts of Alabama

Northeast Alabama
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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. - It's something you might take for granted, but in rural areas, the Internet isn't always readily available.

Gov. Kay Ivey joined state and federal officials in Guntersville Wednesday afternoon to discuss a new program that aims to change that.

"It makes a difference when the feds want to work with you, and we want to work with them, and that's certainly what we're doing," Ivey said. "We thank the Trump administration in being so wise to get input from local folks, because one size does not fit all."

Ivey, U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt and other officials discussed how people who live in rural Alabama can get more access to broadband Internet.

"Internet is like the way electricity was 100 years ago," Aderholt said. "You have the haves and the have-nots."

Aderholt says rural America doesn't have the funding to put infrastructure in. The event discusses a federal program, which isn't available just yet.

"We've allocated $600 million that communities, that counties, that states can apply for to try to put rural broadband where there's currently none," he said.

Anne Hazlett, assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development,  will play a part in implementing the program.

"Broadband, access to high-speed Internet, is a lifeline," Hazlett said. "It's an opportunity. From education to new jobs to new markets for small businesses and importantly in Alabama, to agriculture."

Aderholt said some areas might be able to take advantage of the program starting next year.


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