On November 8th, vote YES on Amendments 2 and 7 on the Alabama General Election ballot to help improve broadband expansion throughout Elmore County.
In recent years, leaders across Elmore County have been working diligently to create avenues to expand essential broadband internet services throughout the county. Initial efforts included the installation of 23 broadband hotspots throughout Elmore County at various churches and schools as the coronavirus pandemic shifted education to a remote setting.
The pandemic also created a major shift in work environments and healthcare heightening the necessity for readily available broadband internet access at home. Statistically, 6.8% of Alabamians do not have the adequate broadband infrastructure and 55.4% live in areas with only one internet provider. When it comes to Elmore County, despite the fact that a reported 92% of households have the ability to access broadband, only 37% actually have access to high-speed broadband. Reliable and accessible broadband is no longer a privilege but rather a necessity for a good quality of life.
Broadband providers are often hesitant to install infrastructure in rural areas due to low subscription rates from consumers. A good business model requires incentives to install the requisite infrastructure. However, under Alabama’s Constitution local governments are largely prohibited from giving a “thing of value” to a private entity.
What does this mean to our citizens and how can you help be a part of the broadband solution? Amendment 2 on the upcoming November 8th ballot proposes to authorize local governments the ability to grant funding to any public or private entity for the purpose of providing or expanding broadband infrastructure.
Amendment 7 on the upcoming November 8th ballot proposes several technical changes to the economic development provisions to address recent challenges. Essentially, the amendment clarifies the limited authority of local governments to assist in economic development projects and allows a local government to be granted authority via a vote of the people it represents.
To clear the way for the expansion of broadband access throughout our communities, vote YES on Amendments 2 and 7 on November 8th!