Madison County Chief Information Officer Chris Iseral laid out a plan today that will ensure every resident and business in the county has access to broadband at the Special Called Work Session.

The County’s Broadband Task Force has been working on broadband expansion plans for months. Through intense data analysis, negotiations, and supporting Federal and State grant initiatives, only six percent of the county’s structures remains unserved.

“I am so proud of my team and for the proposal they have before the Court today. We have worked together and there is a much smaller number today than there was when we started this project in 2021. But that doesn’t make this group of citizens who are unserved any less important. Our goal from the beginning has been to give everyone in Madison County access to high quality Internet and that is exactly what this proposal will do,” said Judge/Executive Reagan Taylor.

Through the diligent and calculated process, Madison County knows the specific number of addresses in the County that need to be served; they have developed a comprehensive deployment strategy and asked the Fiscal Court to allocate $750,000 of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support the expansion plan. ARPA funds can only be used for specific things and broadband expansion to the unserved areas is a designated use of these funds.

County officials raved about the working relationship with existing providers through this process and contractor, All Points Broadband (APB), who has been instrumental in the process. They completed a field survey, which was an important first phase of the countywide broadband expansion to bring high quality and affordable broadband to every citizen in the county.

“Broadband is a topic we hear about from our citizens on a daily basis,” Taylor said. “I’ve said it before, we have to get this right and use our dollars wisely. We don’t want anyone left out. That’s why we have been so diligent and knew it was important to use data to make these decisions. I challenged my team and they’ve delivered. We didn’t want to invest in this expansion and there still be areas of the county unserved. Our goal is access with a fiber network for every citizen regardless of how rural you may be and now we’ve been able to lay out a plan to do that.”

The Fiscal Court agreed to accept the plan and move forward with a resolution to allocate $750,000 of ARPA funds to the broadband expansion project at the Feb. 14 meeting ensuring all Madison County roads are now served with broadband.

Officials mentioned that initial cost estimates to provide countywide coverage were as much as $60 million in early conversations and how working with existing providers has enabled more than 3,500 additional locations to be built out and served through other expansion projects like the RDOF, KBDF and provider expansion plans.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Madison County and residents who have been impacted by the lack of access to broadband,” said Taylor. “This is evidence that patience, perseverance, and hard work pays off. We did the hard work and now our citizens will benefit from our team’s diligence.”

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