TEC proposing project for better internet in Five Points

Published 7:05 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2018

FIVE POINTS — In many rural parts of Chambers County, internet performance for residents can be slow, running at speeds not much faster that dial-up. This is especially the case in Five Points, according to TEC Outside Plant Supervisor Michael Caypless, and he, along with the rest of the company, are hoping to do something about it.

According to TEC Marketing Director Lisa Clarke, the telecommunications company is applying for an Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund grant for a portion of the Five Points community with poor or no internet connection speeds.

The Alabama Broadband Accessibility Act was signed into state legislature in March of this year by Gov. Kay Ivey and was designed to improve the internet speeds of more than 842,000 Alabamians, according to the governor.

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In what is referred to as the Five Points Community Broadband Project, TEC will be matching 80 percent of state grant funding to leverage TEC’s existing network infrastructure and expand it to a three-square-mile area of Five Points.

“TEC is proposing to build approximately 16.3 miles of fiber to reach remote locations in the more rural area of the county that would be too costly to serve without the assistance of this grant funding, thus providing quality high speed internet services to approximately 389 customers, within 153  locations…” read the project description.

Caypless was at the August 27 Chambers County Commission meeting to ask the county leaders for signatures in support of TEC’s proposed project. Wanting to provide the “underserved” portion of Chambers County, he described how he had already gotten signatures from the majority of the community, all of which were to be submitted with the grant proposal.

“The reason we chose this area is because of the high concentration of houses and they are right close to our facilities,” he said.

If the grant is received, TEC plans to build 6.1 miles of distribution fiber to the Five Points area and make “Fiber to the Home” service available with an additional 10.2 miles of drop fiber to provide up to gigabit speeds.

“Our focus is directed to the last mile fiber applications that literally connect the less-seen, rural areas of Alabama with the main broadband centers in the state,” the project description reads.