GKI Announces Middle Mile Broadband Grants

Charter Communications, Uniti Fiber, and nine smaller companies have been awarded funding totaling $188 million from the state of Alabama to cover some of the costs of building middle mile networks in the state.

The lion’s share of the funding — $128.8 million – will go to Alabama Fiber Network, a statewide network owned by local rural electric companies.

Charter will receive $7.3 million. Uniti Fiber, which was spun off from Windstream several years ago, will receive $4.2 million.  Charter has been racking up loads of state broadband funding wins, most of which have been for last mile networks. Uniti focuses on the middle mile.

Eight of the other nine awardees are based in Alabama. The ninth is Point Broadband, a company that offers service in rural areas of 10 states and that has won funding in several other state programs.

The nine Alabama-based companies, including Alabama Fiber Network and the eight others — are:

  • Central Alabama Electric Cooperative
  • Coosa Valley Technologies
  • Cullman Electric Cooperative
  • Farmers Telecommunications
  • Alabama Fiber Network
  • JMF Solutions
  • Joe Wheeler Electric Membership Cooperative
  • Tombigbee Electric Cooperative
  • Yellowhammer Networks

Alabama Middle Mile

Alabama is one of a relatively small number of states that have created funding programs for middle mile networks that interconnect communities and anchor institutions. Most funding programs have focused on last mile connections to individual homes and businesses.

“These middle-mile projects will be extremely beneficial to our anchor institutions, and it puts us in a desirable situation where the ‘last mile’ projects that will supply broadband service to businesses and households are more economical and attainable,” said Alabama governor Kay Ivey in announcing the awards.

The funding came through the Alabama Anchor Institutions/Middle Mile Grant Program. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs administers the program.

A complete list of awardees, including amounts won and areas to be served, can be found here.

Alabama has made a considerable amount of funding available to go toward deploying broadband in unserved and underserved rural areas. See information about these other programs, along with links to state funding resources and state-specific Telecompetitor coverage, on the Broadband Nation page for Alabama.

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