CHEROKEE – TEC is pleased to be the recipient of a grant from the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund for the Red Rock Community Broadband Project for $357,171 toward the total project cost of $1,020,490. This matching grant will allow TEC to extend fiber internet connectivity to over 200 households in Colbert County along Red Rock Road near Cherokee. Construction will begin in late Summer 2020 and provide gigabit internet speed to nine square miles in the Barton community. In addition, TEC will provide an outdoor WIFI public access point and free internet access for three years for the community and first responders at the Red Rock storm shelter as a part of this project.
“We are honored to receive this award from the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund. This grant assists TEC in our commitment to improving the communities we serve, bringing increased fiber internet options to rural Alabama. We are excited to begin construction and get more communities connected,” stated Joey Garner, Executive Vice President of TEC.
TEC has been providing telecom services to rural America for nearly a century, and they were the first to bring internet options to their rural markets over 20 years ago. TEC provides economic stability to their local service areas, employing over 90 people across Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Currently, TEC has invested in and maintains approximately 3,700 miles of copper and over 900 miles of fiber in its rural markets.
“This is a small victory for our community,” said State Representative Jamie Kiel. “It is essential that all of our businesses, schools, and families have broadband access. I will continue to work through the legislative process to ensure everyone in House District 18 has access to rural broadband internet,” Kiel added. “This grant is a first step to greater connectivity.”
This grant is in addition to the $2.7 million USDA loan-grant National Telephone of Alabama received last year to provide broadband internet to western Colbert County. Kiel campaigned in 2018 on bringing greater access to rural broadband internet to Alabamians. Kiel represents most of Colbert and Franklin counties and western Lauderdale county.