Meeting updates public on progress of broadband

Published 11:37 pm Wednesday, March 30, 2011

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

The South Central Alabama Broadband Commission (SCABC) held an informational meeting in Hayneville on Thursday.

Dr. Aaron D. McCall of Hayneville, SCABC executive regional eprogram manager, informed representatives from counties and their municipalities that will be included in the project area on the most recent developments to lay 2,200 miles “next generation broadband infrastructure.”

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The meeting was held at the Hayneville Plaza ballroom.

McCall works with communities, local governments, non-profit agencies and their constituencies help them to gain Internet access once the infrastructure is in place.

According to McCall and the commission, the mission is to own and manage a broadband communications infrastructure designed to bridge the digital divide in South Central Alabama.

The more than $86 million project will employ up to 1,200 workers and will have a footprint in Escambia, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Butler, Wilcox, Lowndes, Dallas and Macon County.

The project will be funded by more than $59 million in federal funds and about $27 million in matching funds for a total of $86 million.

He said the commission is in the process of getting county governments and municipalities to adopt resolutions to become members of SCABC and become jurisdictional partners. He explained it would be necessary to have both counties and municipalities involved to secure the necessary rights-of-way.

Caldwell told those present that the commission has been formed. Charlie King Jr., chairman of the Lowndes County Commission, is chairman of the SCABC, Fletcher Fountain, mayor of Fort Deposit is vice-chairman, and David Daniel, mayor pro tem of Hayneville is secretary treasure.

Robert Wood is interim executive director.

Partners include Trillion Communications Corporation, A2D Incorporated and A-Plus Community Solutions Inc.

He said the first shovel of dirt would be turned for the project in Hayneville, but said no date has been set.

Ralph Brown of Trillion Communication Corporation said that President Barack Obama would be invited to the fiber optic lighting ceremony that will take place in Selma.