Friday, January 09, 2009

Computing - Ohio Company Chosen for Alabama Broadband Project

The keynote speaker at yesterday's MPICT conference reiterated the US's poor position (15th) in broadband penetration among developed countries. Many of us working in IT are hopeful that this will change in an Obama administration. This project in rural Alabama is the kind of initiative that needs to become the norm to make the US more competitive globally.
Computing - Ohio Company Chosen for Alabama Broadband Project
Alabama officials have selected a Cincinnati company for a $1.7 million two-year contract to make Internet broadband service available in all areas of the southern state.

Currently, dial-up Internet access is available using telephone lines in most parts of the state, but the service is slow and sometimes unreliable.

Gov. Bob Riley said Monday his broadband project will make high-speed Internet access with cables or wireless connections available even in rural areas. He said customers will still have to buy Internet access from providers like cable television or phone companies.

Riley said Monday the project would be funded mostly with federal grants.

The contract with CostQuest Associates will go before the Legislature's Contract Review Committee for approval Thursday, but the committee can only delay contracts for up to 45 days, not stop them.

The governor last year created a 34-member bipartisan committee to oversee the expansion of broadband coverage in Alabama. Riley said the committee chose CostQuest after being contacted by more than 2,000 potential vendors.

Riley said in his home county, Clay, high-speed Internet connections are mostly unavailable in rural areas.

'It's depressing to see children go to school and have broadband available and then go home and not have it,' Riley said.

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