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Electric Utilities Help Bring High-Speed Internet to Alabama

State and local officials in Alabama are now touting a new partnership between C Spire and Alabama Power, expected to bring faster Internet services to Birmingham and central Alabama in 2020.

(TNS) — Alabama state and local officials are touting a partnership between C Spire and Alabama Power, expected to bring faster internet services to Birmingham and central Alabama in 2020.

Broadband laws enacted last legislative session allow electric providers to install, operate and maintain broadband systems within their easements and the areas of property used by utility companies.

A company called C Spire is working with Alabama Power to bring Gigabit speed (1000 Mbps) internet services to more of the Birmingham area in 2020.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said additional broadband infrastructure is critical to the city’s economic future. “This is a great investment in the future of Birmingham and our metro area,” Woodfin said in a statement. “In Birmingham, we are committed to creating an inclusive economy that provides the best opportunities in education, workforce development and entrepreneurship for everyone. We’re proud to have C Spire as a member of the Birmingham community with its track record of success in neighboring Mississippi and its commitment to digital access and investments in local communities.”

Some rural areas of Alabama and areas in the Birmingham metro area still lack adequate access to high-speed internet.

C Spire is a Mississippi-based telecommunications and technology services company has rolled out ultra-fast Gigabit internet access and related services in more than 20 Mississippi markets. The company, which operates the nation’s largest privately-owned wireless communications operation, joined the Alabama Rural Broadband Coalition last month.

The company has customers in Mississippi, the Memphis metro area, the Florida panhandle, and parts of Alabama including Mobile.

State Sen. Greg Reed of Jasper, the Senate Majority Leader who co-sponsored legislation making this broadband expansion possible, said he’s welcoming C Spire to Alabama.

“I’m proud of the role we played in creating this opportunity for Alabama communities,” Reed said in a statement. “But I am even prouder of the partnerships that we have forged with C Spire, Alabama Power and others and the investment they are making in our state. That investment will pay dividends for consumers and businesses. As I’ve said before, no matter where they live, every single student, family, worker and business owner in Alabama should have access to fast, reliable internet that allows them to thrive in the 21st century economy. It’s through partnerships like this one that we are working to make that a reality.”

Elsewhere, on Thursday, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Tombigbee Electric Cooperative plan to announce a rural broadband expansion in northwest Alabama. “Millions in USDA funding will increase e-connectivity, bringing high-speed internet to more than 8,000 homes in rural Alabama,” officials said.

©2019 Alabama Media Group, Birmingham. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.