Statement from Cullman Electric Cooperative in Response to Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund Grant Award Announcement
Cullman Electric Cooperative received news today that it did not receive any grant funding from the state of Alabama to support Sprout Fiber Internet expansion. We were further disappointed to learn that none of the $26.6 million that was distributed to support the expansion of rural broadband service was not given to any of the electric cooperatives in Alabama that are working to provide high-speed internet service in communities that have been overlooked and under-served by telecommunications companies for decades.
Grant funding is one of the five strategic factors Cullman Electric Cooperative considers when developing the co-op’s strategic plan for making Sprout Fiber Internet available to all of our members. Today’s announcement will impact the development of our 2023 expansion plan that will be announced in October. Without grant funding, several unserved areas that were tentatively scheduled for 2023 will remain on our future phases list — for now.
Today’s news is not a roadblock, but a detour along the path to reaching our ultimate goal of making Sprout Fiber Internet available to every member of Cullman Electric Cooperative. Without grant funding we will not be able to accomplish that goal as quickly as we would like, but we will continue to pursue both federal and state grants with hopes of adding more areas to our 2023 expansion plan once funding is secured.
Since connecting its first subscriber in January 2021, Sprout Fiber Internet has already grown to serve more than 3,700 Cullman Electric members, with more than 250 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 with 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.