CENTREVILLE, AL – Governor Kay Ivey on Monday [December 28, 2020] announced that she has extended the successful Alabama Broadband Connectivity for Students program into 2021 thanks to a provision in the latest COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress last week and signed by President Trump on Sunday evening.
Alabama Lightwave Inc, a Bibb County Internet Service Provider, has been selected by the State as one of the qualified providers for the Centreville and Brent areas of Bibb County. Alabama Lightwave will offer internet services for student families who qualify under the ABC program and has recently expanded their service capacity to address this growing need in the local community.
Governor Ivey’s goal is to ensure that the families currently benefiting from ABC for Students have continuity of service through the program, which has provided access to high-speed internet for about 200,000 Alabama students throughout the fall and was slated to end on the original CARES Act spending deadline of December 30, 2020. The relief package included an extension into 2021 of the federal deadline for states to spend CARES Act funds allocated earlier in 2020. The current funding is anticipated to cover the costs for current participants through the spring semester of 2021.
ADECA partnered with selected vendors to develop the ABC for Students program to implement the first-of-its-kind program statewide in a very short and accelerated timeframe in July and August. Back in the fall, families that qualified for the National School Lunch Program received vouchers to cover the cost of equipment, installation and internet service through 42 providers that partnered with the state for the program. ADECA also administers the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund, which provides grant funding to expand broadband service in the state.
Josh Lambert, President of Alabama Lightwave, said that his Centreville based company began expanding service capacity in the Fall of 2020 to meet the growing need of citizens in the area and to address the home bound needs of students without access to broadband. While the company presently can only offer wireless service and cannot connect every local resident, many student households can obtain service from Alabama Lightwave even after the ABC voucher program has expired.
The ABC Program stopped honoring new vouchers after December 4th however, Alabama Lightwave will offer its own installation and equipment waivers if you have a qualified ABC voucher that was not used. Monthly service charges must be paid by the client since the ABC program will not accept new clients.
Families with student vouchers can contact Alabama Lightwave at (205) 809-9051, visit our website at www.alabamalightwave.com, or Facebook @alabamalightwave said Lambert.