Twenty-five internet service providers plan to apply for state grant funding to expand Alabama's broadband network coverage areas to unserved areas.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Development posted the ISPs' letters of intent to apply for broadband grants from the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund grant program to its web site Monday. The deadline for filing the letters was April 29th. The grant application deadline itself is June 28th, 2022.
ADECA is posting the letters and accompanying proposed geographic coverage information in the hopes that the ISPs will coordinate with incumbents so there's no duplication of effort.
A note from ADECA read: “They are publicly available to promote coordination between applicants and with existing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) regarding overlapping service areas. Applicants and existing ISPs are strongly encouraged to contact applicants regarding their letters of intent within 30 days of the posting of the letters on the ADECA website to ensure compliance with the grant program deadline.”
Alabama's state legislature assigned $276 million of its American Rescue Plan Act funding to expand broadband networks during a special session in January. ADECA is the agency dispensing the money through its Digital Expansion Division.
The ARPA funds come from three sources: $51 million in State Fiscal Recovery funds, $34 million in Revenue Replacement funds and $191 million from the Capital Projects Fund.
“Unserved” in Alabama mean networks with upload speeds of less than 25 Mbps and download speeds of 3 Mbps.
For maps of state areas that are served, underserved and unserved, and yield-on-cost maps with and without grant funding, check out Broadband Money's Alabama profile page.