Alabama legislators have proposed to allocate $260 million in funding for broadband deployments. The money would come from $1.1 billion recently awarded to the state through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
According to an Associated Press report, the bill is expected to be in committee today, and state lawmakers hope to get final passage by the end of next week.
The $1.1 billion is the last of the money that the state will receive through the ARPA, according to the report. A separate report from local media outlet Al.gov notes that the state previously received $1 billion in ARPA funding in 2021 and 2022.
The ARPA made funding available to each state in the union that could be used for a variety of investments, including broadband. The remaining portion of the $1.1 billion would go toward healthcare providers, water and sewer infrastructure providers, and for projects that would address the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey convened a special meeting of the state legislature earlier this week to determine how to use the latest allotment of ARPA funding. At that time, Ivey said expansion of broadband and water and sewer projects would be priorities.
The $260 million in broadband funding would not be the first funding that Alabama has made available for broadband deployments. Last week, the state announced nearly $25 million in awards, which went primarily to two cable companies – Mediacom and Charter.
The awards were the latest in the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund program, which had made other previous award announcements.
The news about the proposed Alabama broadband legislation came the same day that Texas legislators introduced a bill that would allot $5 billion for broadband deployments in the state.