Rural broadband to be expanded in Fayette County

rural broadband
Mark Crews, vice president of western division for Alabama Power, announces the partnership between Alabama Power and Tombigbee Communications to deploy rural broadband and high-speed fiber internet service in Fayette County. Photo by Dennis Washington/Alabama NewsCenter.

Alabama Power has teamed with Tombigbee Communications, a subsidiary of Tombigbee Electric Cooperative, to expand rural broadband and high-speed fiber internet in Fayette County. It is the first broadband partnership between an electric cooperative and an investor-owned utility in the state.

“We are excited to continue the deployment of broadband throughout Northwest Alabama alongside our longtime partner, Alabama Power,” said Steve Foshee, president and CEO of Tombigbee Electric Cooperative. “We both work hard every day to serve our customers and position rural Alabama for growth and prosperity.”

Through the partnership, Tombigbee Communications will lease available capacity on fiber infrastructure, used by Alabama Power on its electric grid for reliable service, as additional support for its backbone network to reach and connect Fayette County residents and businesses with high-speed internet. Tombigbee Communications offers freedom fiber, a fiber- to-the-home network, with a goal of serving all of Marion and Lamar counties, a majority of Fayette County and portions of Winston, Franklin and Walker counties.

“The communities in our state need high-speed internet to thrive in today’s digitally driven world,” said Mark Crews, vice president of western division of Alabama Power. “Our partnership with Tombigbee Communications highlights the importance and value of businesses joining together to help bridge our state’s digital divide and lift up unserved and underserved rural areas.”

Recent laws signed by Gov. Kay Ivey, including the Broadband Using Electric Easement Accessibility Act, allow electric providers the ability to use their existing infrastructure and easements to support high-speed internet.

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Since the passage of these laws, signed in 2019, Alabama Power has forged a number of partnerships with broadband providers, including C Spire in Jasper and Trussville and Point Broadband on Lake Martin.

High-speed internet services are expected to be available in Fayette County in the spring of 2022.

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