Rural Broadband, Fresh Market Opens, Vilsack Visits

Aug 12, 2015


Rural Alabama residents will finally be able to get broadband internet thanks to an FCC program. It’s called Connect America and its mission is to provide access to high-speed internet everywhere in the country.

     Mark Wigfield is spokesman for the FCC. He says Windstream Communications is the latest company to come on board with Connect America.

     “They’ll get this five-hundred-thousand dollars a year to expand and support broadband service for these customers. The idea is that they have to have forty percent of it built out by the end of 2017, and then sixty percent by the end of 2018, and have it completely done by 2020.”

     Wigfield says Frontier Communications is also involved with the program. AT&T and CenturyLink have been approached as well.

Tuscaloosa has taken another step toward recovery from the April 2011 Tornadoes.  Fresh Market is 

Tuscaloosa Fresh Market in Legacy Park
Credit Stan Ingold

  the first business to open in the newly developed Legacy Park. The development is built on land that was hit by the storms four years ago. Mayor Walt Maddox attended the opening. He says the opening of the shops in Legacy Park will be a major benefit to the city.

     “We wanted a more strategic picture of how to rebuild which included higher quality, higher development which helped our entire city. First year of business this entire shopping center will create over a million dollars in new taxes so that means better investment in our schools and our roads and most importantly it means a lot of jobs and a higher quality of life.”

At least five more businesses, including a restaurant are planning to open in Legacy Park on within the next 3 months.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Congresswoman Terri Sewell are touring parts of Alabama to promote the state's rural small businesses and community infrastructure.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that Vilsack attended an event celebrating the groundbreaking of a wastewater treatment facility in White Hall. The facility received over one million dollars in funding from USDA programs and will serve 57 residential and 3 commercial customers locally.

The two officials will tour Greensboro's Kyser County Farm. The farm received nearly two hundred thousand dollars in grant money provided through the USDA's Rural Energy for American Program.