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New legislation aims to use CARES Act funds to expand broadband in Alabama

Access to the internet is vital, especially as more schools turn to virtual learning.
Access to the internet is vital, especially as more schools turn to virtual learning.
Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 3:01 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 25, 2020 at 3:02 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It may be hard to believe for some of us, but some students still don’t have access to internet. But there’s a new push to make sure everyone is connected and ready to learn.

Access to the internet is vital, especially as more schools turn to virtual learning. Alabama Cong. Robert Aderholt is trying to get more people in rural areas connected with the Enabling Extra Time to Extend Network Development or EXTEND Act.

Aderholt says the new legislation will help states expand their rural broadband infrastructure using coronavirus relief funds. We’re told the bill will allow states to determine which rural areas are underserved while also preventing overbuilding in areas where broadband access is widespread. Aderholt says expanding broadband to those who need it is a priority.

“Especially as we have seen with this COVID issue, how more than ever we really need to have something so that when the kids couldn’t go to school they could still learn, they could still move forward without having to sit at home and be at a disadvantage over kids who were able to get on the internet,” said Aderholt, of the state’s 4th congressional district.

If passed, unused CARES Act funding will be used for this broadband effort. The state has until December 30 to spend CARES Act money or give it back to the federal government.

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