MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - State officials have selected a Cincinnati company for a $1.7 million two-year contract to make Internet broadband service available in all areas of the state.
Currently Internet access is available through dialup access using telephone lines in most parts of the state, but that service is slow and sometimes unreliable.
The company, CostQuest Associates, will work with Alabama's Internet service providers to identify gaps in broadband availability, map current broadband access in the state, and increase the use of broadband in areas that lack it. The company will also submit quarterly progress reports says the governor's office.
Gov. Bob Riley says his broadband project will make higher speed Internet access using cables or wireless connections available across the state, even in rural areas. He said in most areas customers will still have to buy Internet access from providers like cable television or phone companies.
The project would be funded mostly with federal grants according to Riley.
"Although broadband on its own is not a silver bullet for prosperity, adequate broadband access is an enabler for economic development and for enhancing the lives of our citizens," said Governor Riley. "We started the Alabama Broadband Initiative to make sure small towns and rural communities don't get left behind. Rural communities offer so much in quality of life and have so much potential. But without sufficient access to broadband, these communities and their residents will remain technologically isolated, and thus, disadvantaged."
The contract with CostQuest Associates will go before the Legislature's Contract Review Committee for approval Thursday. The committee can delay contracts for up to 45 days, but can't stop them.