BAILEYTON, Ala. – Local internet service provider Cyber Broadband hosted a press conference Tuesday afternoon at Baileyton Town Hall to officially announce the $1.33 million grant the company was awarded by Governor Kay Ivey to help bring broadband internet service to rural areas of east Cullman County. The company will begin running fiber to areas including parts of Baileyton and Joppa.
Cyber Broadband President and CEO Jay Fuller was joined by other members of the Cyber Broadband team, Baileyton Mayor Johnny Dyar and Rep. Randall Shedd, R-Fairview.
“Today, we are announcing our intent to build a fiber-to-the-home network here in Cullman County,” Fuller said.
He explained the areas within Phase 1 of the project, with the north boundary being “approximately at the intersection of Eva Road and County Road 1527. From about the Shaddix Country Mall location, the network is going to take a little bit of an eastern jog toward the towns of Baileyton and Joppa. The east side of the network is roughly around Highway 67. The network will extend south pretty much toward Holly Pond and will end at approximately the Holly Pond town limits where Charter picks up service. The west side of the network is approximately halfway between Baileyton and Fairview. We are currently planning to serve most/any address in the middle of this area. If you have an address in that square, you should get service out of this project.”
To be eligible for the grant money from the State of Alabama, Fuller said, the funds cannot be used to build fiber in an area another internet provider already serves.
Fuller said to the residents of the area, “We want to hear from you. The best way to reach us right now is to send an email to email@example.com or give our office a call at 256-734-1077.”
As for a time frame, Fuller said, “The best answer I can give you is, I don’t really know. If all goes well and we don’t run into any major roadblocks I can see some folks being serviced in this area in the fourth quarter of this year. It could take up to two to three years to complete the entire project. We do have a time limit from the State of Alabama, so we will be putting our boots to work as soon as possible.”
The total projected cost of the project is estimated to be $3.8 million with a reach of about 55 miles.
Fuller added, “That’s probably going to be a little low because, as I mentioned, if we find there is a potential customer that’s a half a mile out of where we are talking about building, we are going to build to that potential customer. That’s basically $70,000 a mile.”
Dyar thanked everyone for coming to Baileyton for the announcement and those who worked together to bring broadband service to the area.
“This is a great opportunity for Baileyton and Joppa and the people who live in this district,” he said. “It takes a group of people to get something done. Randall Shedd has been our backbone and (Sen.) Garland (Gudger, R-Cullman), and I just want to thank you again. You have never forgotten where you came from.”
Shedd, too, thanked Gudger and others who helped make broadband available to rural areas in Cullman County.
“This is a crucial part of an area developing and growing and, number one, not dying,” said Shedd. “A lot of areas are declining in population and growth and people are just not going to go to an area without connectivity.”
Shedd also thanked Ivey and Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) Director Kenneth Boswell for making the funds available for the area.
Last month, the Cullman Electric Cooperative announced the launch of Sprout Fiber Internet, which also aims to provide high-speed service to the area, but Fuller said what Cyber Broadband is doing is completely separate from that.
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