State of Alabama Middle-Mile Network Grant Funding
Cullman Electric Cooperative along with seven other Alabama electric cooperatives, formally known as the Fiber Utility Network, received news this week that an $82.45 million grant has been awarded to the group to fund a middle-mile broadband network to provide a statewide high speed internet network. A statewide middle mile network will greatly benefit broadband expansion in rural Alabama. We appreciate Governor Ivey and Kenneth Boswell, the Director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs for their commitment to build a long-term, sustainable, fiber-optic network across the State of Alabama.
Although this grant will not directly provide funding for Sprout Fiber Internet to expand service to Cullman Electric Cooperative members, it is a critical project that will create an even more reliable service for our Sprout subscribers while also connecting our community to government, education, health care and law enforcement agencies across the state. In simple terms, this grant will benefit Sprout subscribers long-term by providing better connectivity to the rest of the State of Alabama and to the world.
The Fiber Utility Network statewide project will create a middle-mile network that will connect almost 3,000 miles of existing and new fiber infrastructure over a three-year period. The Fiber Utility Network includes eight electric cooperatives including Central Alabama, Coosa Valley, Covington, Cullman, Joe Wheeler, North Alabama, PowerSouth and Tombigbee.
Cullman Electric Cooperative is also seeking “Fiber to the Home” grant funding which would help expand Sprout Fiber Internet to the members we serve in our service territory.
Since connecting its first subscriber in January 2021, Sprout Fiber Internet has already grown to serve more than 4,000 Cullman Electric members, with more than 450 additional homes and businesses scheduled for installation in the coming weeks. Sprout Fiber Internet is building a reputation for providing superior internet speed and reliability along with outstanding local customer service. Sprout was founded based upon the cooperative business principles that have helped Cullman Electric Cooperative improve the quality of life in our community for the past 86 years, and it is why we are confident Sprout Fiber Internet will play an essential role in helping our community grow and thrive for years to come.