About Be Linked Alabama:

While the Be Linked Alabama name may be new, the State of Alabama’s efforts to expand high-speed internet access have been ongoing for several years. In 2017, Governor Ivey issued an executive order establishing the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs as the state agency over broadband planning and expansion. Since that time, the agency has worked closely with many partners to develop planning, mapping and managing grant programs to support the expansion of high-speed internet access efforts in the state.

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In 2018, ADECA awarded the first grants from the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund. Since then, Alabama has invested $82 million in state funds to support more than 100 projects by internet service providers (ISPs) to expand access into unserved areas. Once completed, access to broadband service will be available to more than 72,000 Alabama households, businesses and community institutions that currently do not have access to high-speed internet.

In November 2021, the agency established the Alabama Digital Expansion Division, which was created through the Connect Alabama Act of 2021. The act also created the Alabama Digital Expansion Authority to work with ADECA to oversee the expansion of high-speed internet access in the state. In December 2021, ADECA released the Alabama Broadband Map and Alabama Connectivity Plan to guide the state’s efforts and recommend strategies to expand access to the internet. The map is a powerful tool with different data layers that helps ensure that grants go to areas lacking access high-speed internet. The map is updated regularly.

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In late 2022 and early 2023, ADECA completed community technical assistance meetings in all 67 of Alabama’s counties.

Through Be Linked Alabama, ADECA will continue this important work for the citizens of Alabama. American Rescue Plan Act funding allocated by the Legislature will further the state’s reach with its internet expansion efforts. In 2022, an $82.45 million grant was announced to the Fiber Utility Network for a middle-mile project that will have a statewide impact. Approximately $180 million from the Capital Projects Fund will support grants to ISPs for last-mile projects and more than $200 million will support the Alabama Anchor Institution/Middle Mile Program to fund fiber connectivity to anchor institutions like colleges and universities, rural hospitals and government facilities.

In July 2023, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced an allocation of $1.4 billion to support additional internet expansion in Alabama. ADECA expects these funds through the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program to be available in 2025.

Broadband Basics

You can think of a fiber optic network as the road system that delivers high-speed internet to the end user. There are three main categories of this network – long haul fiber, middle mile fiber, and local last mile fiber. Take a look at the below graphic to get a sense of the different roles each of these play in delivering high-speed internet service!

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Local Last Mile to Individual Businesses and Homes

Last-mile fiber provides the actual connections to homes, businesses, and individual addresses. You can think of this as a driveway connecting a home to a street.

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Middle Mile Fiber

Middle-mile fiber provides the infrastructure to help facilitate last-mile deployment by internet service providers. You can think of this as the road that connects to a driveway.

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Long-Haul Fiber

Long-haul fiber provides the infrastructure to help facilitate middle-mile deployment across long distances. You can think of this as an interstate system connecting the roads that run by a driveway to large metropolitan areas far away.

Common Terminology

Megabits per second (Mbps)

Mbps is a unit of measurement that tells us the speed of a network. For example, you could compare this to miles per hour as a unit of measurement for the speed of cars on the road.

Unserved area

Any area that does not have access to speeds of 25/3 Mbps.

Underserved area

Underserved areas are defined as having speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps but less than 100/20 Mbps.

Kay Ivey

“To thrive in a 21st century world and a 21st century economy, broadband must be made readily available so additional job opportunities can be created, education can be expanded past the walls of our classrooms and healthcare services can be improved. Broadband expansion is a journey, not a short trip, and Be Linked Alabama represents our state’s journey to expand access to high-speed internet connectivity for all Alabamians.”

Kay Ivey

Governor of Alabama

Kenneth W. Boswell

“We have a great team in Alabama that includes public officials such as our Governor and members of the Legislature, private sector companies, citizens, local leaders and communities all joining together with a common goal – to give everyone who calls our state home the ability to be connected. Our state has already made tremendous progress on our journey to expand broadband, but we still have a long way to go. Be Linked Alabama represents the progress that we have made, and the continued progress still to come.”

Kenneth W. Boswell

Director of Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs

Resources

Check out some of our resources to see important information and announcements on broadband expansion in the state of Alabama.

Events and Information

Alabama BEAD Initial Proposal and Alabama Statewide Digital Opportunity Plan Public Webinar

An hour-long public webinar was held on Monday, November 20th, with representatives from the Alabama Digital Expansion Division of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).

In The News

ADECA hosts broadband meetings in all 67 counties

ADECA hosts broadband meetings in all 67 counties

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) has reached an important milestone in broadband expansion by hosting community broadband meetings in each of Alabama’s 67 counties. The meetings,...

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announces almost $200 million more available for broadband expansion

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announces almost $200 million more available for broadband expansion

Alabama’s efforts to extend access to broadband service to unserved areas received a boost Jan. 26 with the U.S. Treasury Department approval of the state’s plan for the Capital Projects Fund. The...

Ivey announces $82 million “middle mile” broadband expansion

Ivey announces $82 million “middle mile” broadband expansion

Nearly 3,000 miles of existing and new fiber infrastructure will be connected over the next three years thanks to an $82.45 million grant announced by Gov. Kay Ivey and other...

Alabama makes strides in broadband expansion | INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE

Alabama makes strides in broadband expansion | INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE

If you took a nighttime plane ride across much of the rural South in the early 1900s, you would see nothing but darkness on the ground below because electricity at...