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Troy Cablevision to spend $1.4M to bring broadband to rural Pike County

Troy Cablevision will be extending broadband access to Goshen, Banks and Brundidge in the next two years as part of a $1.7 million project.

Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday the awarding of $348,885 to Troy Cablevision for Troy Cablevision to extend service in Crenshaw County (near Rutledge/Luverne), Pike County (near Brundidge, Banks and Goshen) and northeast Coffee County. The project will cover 52 miles and provide connectivity for 405 households, 33 businesses and two community and public safety locations. The grants are the second round of awards presented by Ivey under the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund.

Jake Cowen, general manager at Troy Cablevision, said the funds will help reduce the company’s costs by 20 percent, leaving a near $1.4 million still to be invested by the company to bring broadband to the rural county communities.

“These areas definitely don’t have access as it sits,” Cowen said. “We have a great partner with Southeast Alabama Electric Cooperative to get to customers service in a more economic manner.

“Whether these people service are children that need to do homework or adults that might need to be working from home, they have to have internet access to do the things they haven’t been able to do. There are entertainment benefits as well, of course, but in order to study and learn and work in this age, you’ve got to have access to broadband.”

The state has put an emphasis as well on extending broadband access to rural areas.

““Alabama’s rural residents not only want, but need to be on a super highway when it comes to technology,” Ivey said. “Access to high-speed internet in our rural areas will open the way to improved educational opportunities, economic development projects and better health-care services. I am very proud to award these grants to expand access to affordable high-speed internet in these communities.”

The fund was created by the Alabama Legislature and signed into law by Ivey in March 2018 to provide high-speed internet in underserved communities.

The Broadband Accessibility Fund provides grants for service providers to supply high-speed internet services in unincorporated areas or communities with 25,000 people or less. Under the law, the awards cannot exceed 20 percent of the total cost of a project.

“Governor Ivey has led the way to improve rural Alabama on many issues, none more important than connectivity to technology. Alabama is committed to improving our rural areas,” Rep. Randall Shedd said.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is responsible for administering the Broadband Accessibility Fund.

“Like public water and sewer services, high-speed internet is an important piece of infrastructure that people, especially in urban areas, can take for granted,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “Providing these services in rural communities improves lives, and ADECA is proud to be a part of this important process.”

Troy Cablevision also received a $575,115 grant for connectivity in multiple areas in Houston County (near Cottonwood and Gordon; and between Webb and Columbia) and Geneva County (near Slocomb, Coffee Springs, Geneva and Samson). The project will cover 79 miles and provide connectivity for 878 residences, 76 businesses and three community locations (like schools, libraries, fire stations and community centers).