AT&T increases Internet access in rural Shelby County

SHELBY – AT&T and local officials announced that AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet is now available to underserved households in rural Shelby County at a ribbon cutting ceremony at the AT&T tower off Alabama 145 on Thursday, July 20.

“In today’s world, high-speed connectivity is important,” state Sen. Jim McClendon said. “I am excited to see the private sector continuing to bring enhanced connectivity for residents and small businesses in rural Alabama.”

According to Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Kirk Mancer, Shelby County residents will be some of the first in the United States to participate in the program.

“I am thankful for the leadership of our elected officials who work to ensure a pro-customer business environment and am delighted the rural residents of Shelby County are among the first in the nation to access this innovative technology,” Mancer said.

AT&T Alabama Assistant Vice President Mickey Harbin said AT&T plans to reach 66,000 underserved households across Alabama by the year 2020.

“These are people that really have very few options,” Harbin said. “It’s an affordable product with a lot of data.”

Both McClendon and state Rep. Corley Ellis said an increase in Internet access offers educational benefits to students in rural areas.

“I’ve spent years trying to eliminate textbooks and use electronic devices in our schools, and it’s been a struggle,” McClendon said. “One of the problems is what happens when those kids go home and some of them don’t have wireless Internet access.”

“We’re going to get our kids the tools that they need,” Ellis said.

According to Harbin, families in need can apply for service online at Att.com/fixedwireless or by calling (877) 990-0041. Service costs $60 per month under a one-year contract or $50 if bundled with DirectTV or another wireless product and includes 160 gigabytes per household.

The project is sponsored by the Federal Communications Commission Connect America Fund.