The state of Alabama currently ranks 38th in the US in the field of state broadband access. While the northern and east-central parts of Alabama, as well as the southwest tip of the state, are relatively well-connected, there remain a number of counties with low broadband coverage. One county’s population even has less than 1% access to a wired connection capable of 25 Mbps speeds. Data from user speed tests show that Alabama’s average statewide download speed hovers around 111.8 Mbps, which exceeds a handful of higher-ranking states.
The Digital Divide in Alabama
The two most relevant factors that play into quantifying the digital divide – the technological inequality between those who have access to the latest telecommunications technologies and those who do not – in Alabama are availability and affordability.
In terms of the availability of high-speed internet to Alabama’s population, statistics reveal that 88.6% of Alabamians have access to wired broadband 25 Mbps or faster. Still, this leaves 475,000 people in Alabama without access to a connection capable of the same speeds. Further, while there are 154 operational internet providers within the state, 226,000 Alabama residents have no wired internet options at their home, and another 632,000 people only have one internet provider offering services at their location.
Experts have determined that for an internet plan to qualify as “low-priced,” it must cost $60 or less per month. Affordability data shows that 44.4% of Alabamians have access to such a plan. In this regard, Alabama lags behind the national average of 51.5% of Americans who have access to a low-priced plan.
When it comes to broadband access, Alabama may be far down the list in comparison to many other states throughout the nation. However, some cities within the state experience relatively good internet access, prices, and speeds. The most well-connected cities in Alabama are Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, and Montgomery, with the former ranking highest in Alabama.
On the other hand, Loachapoka, Jachin, Trenton, and Boykin are the cities that currently have the worst connection in Alabama, with the latter ranking lowest in the state. In Loachapoka, the fastest average internet speed is just 0.16 Mbps.
Read up on how Alabama stacks up against other states throughout the country here.
Since 2010, a total of $4,874,142 in federal grant money has been allocated toward the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs’ broadband data and development initiative. An additional $91,596,026 in federal grants have been granted to fuel the expansion of broadband infrastructure within the state.
In recent years, current state legislation has established the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund, which aims to provide high-speed internet services to a number of unserved communities statewide.
The information above is taken from a mix of public and private datasets. More about our data here.