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5/28/19 Group Watch: Rural Broadband Coming

The bill that will expand access to high-speed internet throughout the state was passed on Wednesday, and it is expected that Governor Ivey will sign it into law. The bill allows electric utility companies to use their existing networks to offer broadband internet to rural areas by letting them add high-speed cable lines to their current power line systems. The increased access should have positive impacts on education and economic development in these areas. Not only does this increase access to what is today an almost-crucial service, it does it at a reduced cost since often, existing infrastructure can be used and new lines won’t have to be run. Earlier in this session, Ivey signed the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Act, which creates a grant program for broadband access that will be administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

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