Task force working high speed to bring Broadband to all of Alabama

Published 3:09 pm Thursday, March 5, 2009

Broadband is as important to Alabama now as rural electrification was during the last century.

That’s the message Kathy Johnson is working to spread throughout the state as she directs Gov. Bob Riley’s Connecting Alabama task force.

Connecting Alabama is working to bring broadband, high-speed Internet service to all areas of Alabama.

Johnson spoke to those who attended the South Shelby County Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon Thursday at the Columbiana United Methodist Church.

“Broadband was once a luxury. Today, it’s a necessity,” Johnson said.

The task force is working with government and business leaders, including officials from nine telecommunications companies providing Internet services in Alabama, to research availability of broadband services in the state and bring down barriers to providing such services in rural areas.

Unlike dial-up Internet connection, Broadband is defined as any service that allows for high-speed transfer of data, voice and video over the Internet. A number of different industries offer broadband Internet access, including telephone companies using DSL, cable TV companies using coaxial cable, Internet service providers using fiber-optic cable and satellite television providers.

Johnson suggested wireless Internet services may become a good option for rural areas of the state, as well as new technologies, like one being developed by a technology company located in Huntsville, which would provide broadband Internet capability over existing power lines.

“The U.S. invented the Internet. We were No. 1 in the world at one time in advancing this technology. Today, we’re ranked somewhere around 15,” Johnson said.

Broadband Internet capabilities in all of Alabama are essential to attracting and keeping business and in providing relevant education in Alabama, as well as providing the latest in health care capabilities and public safety.

Those seeking other information are invited to visit ConnectingAlabama.gov to learn more.