Our view: USDA grant of $25M to Hayneville Telephone Company connects residents locally, globally
Published 12:00 pm Thursday, November 10, 2022
In recent months, discussion and interest regarding improving broadband internet accessibility in rural portions of Alabama have intensified at both the local and state levels
Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has stepped into the fold, awarding a $25 million grant to Hayneville Telephone Company, a local company that will work to cover 219 square miles of Lowndes County with 279 miles of fiber in order to improve the level of services it can offer to more than 4,600 residents of the county.
By applying for and obtaining this grant, Hayneville Telephone Company is doing more than just connecting its customers to high-speed internet – it is connecting its users to the world and allowing rural residents to participate in society in ways none of us could have imagined prior to the turn of the century, and it is long overdue for an area of the state that is often overlooked for such investment.
The overall usefulness of the internet varies from generation to generation, but having access to high speed internet is essential to businesses and residents alike if they are to compete in a world that is quickly becoming more digitally focused.
Lowndes County, like many other rural and poor counties in Alabama, has long been overlooked as a place where high speed connectivity was needed. Companies like Hayneville Telephone Company did their best to do what they could, but in a county where your neighbors are often greatly spread out, it was a challenge to invest in fiber installment where the customers per mile likely didn’t make sense from a return on investment standpoint.
Every person deserves the opportunity to have the same level of accessibility those in more populated regions now enjoy. That goes for high speed internet access, and cell phone coverage, which is another pressing issue those who have the authority along with the responsibility need to solve.
Hayneville Telephone Company continues to express its commitment to help connect us all, and we look forward to seeing the progress as each mile of fiber is installed and more people experience the benefits of high-speed internet