Broadband for the Wiregrass lands significant federal grant
A $3.6 million federal grant awarded in January will support the Broadband for the Wiregrass partnership and Wiregrass Electric Cooperative’s (WEC's) efforts to improve broadband internet access.
The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund award is the first federal grant for the Broadband for the Wiregrass partnership, a collaboration between WEC and Troy Cable. Combined with two state grants and an initial project to strengthen WEC’s power grid, this joint venture will provide broadband access to more than 7,000 WEC members by 2024.
“Years ago we realized that local broadband availability had to dramatically improve in order for our area to compete economically and educationally,” says WEC Chief Operating Officer Brad Kimbro. “The coronavirus pandemic only magnified that need for high-speed internet. We are proud of the progress we have made and hope to obtain even more grants to make sure no one is left behind technologically.”
The $3.6 million grant, which will be used in Houston County, funds a portion of the next phase of broadband expansion. The grant also requires Troy Cable to make a significant financial investment.
The grant gives Troy Cable three years to provide at least 40% coverage in the designated area of Houston County. Troy Cable plans to finalize installations funded by the second state grant in 2021 — finishing that project six months early — to devote more resources to the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund project.
Locations that will soon have fiber installations related to the second state grant include areas south of Slocomb, Hartford, and Samson; areas north and west of Samson; and areas along and near U.S. Highway 231 in southern Houston County.
For more project information and an interactive map that shows the Broadband for the Wiregrass progress, visit our Broadband page.