USDA awards freedom FIBER $29.5M loan-grant


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy (center) answers questions following a ceremony held on Thursday, Dec. 5, at Tombigbee Electric Cooperative in Hamilton, where he announced Tombigbee’s freedom FIBER was receiving a $29.5 million 50/50 loan-grant from the USDA. Also shown are (from left) Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs Director Kenneth Boswell, LaVoy, Tombigbee Electric Cooperative President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steve Foshee and Farmer’s Telecommunications Cooperative CEO Fred Johnson of Rainsville.

HAMILTON - Local broadband provider freedom FIBER, a subsidiary of Tombigee Electric Cooperative, has been awarded a $29.5 million loan-grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand rural high-speed internet in northwest Alabama.
U.S. and state officials announced the 50% loan-grant during a ceremony held at Tombigbee’s warehouse in Hamilton on Thursday, Dec. 5. Hundreds of officials, stakeholders and students from Marion and surrounding counties attended the event to hear the announcement.
The company will use the monies to expand their existing fiber optic network and extend freedom FIBER to 2,300 square miles of unserved areas of Marion, Lamar, Fayette, Franklin, Winston and Walker counties.
Tombigbee’s investment is anticipated to reach an more than 20,000 households, 200 farms, 1,500 businesses, 30 critical community facilities, 28 educational facilities and four health care facilities.

 


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