BY HANNAH LESTER
LEE COUNTY —
The Lee County Commission heard a presentation by Dan Mellot with Sain Associates on the results of a broadband feasibility study in Lee County during its meeting on Monday, March 13.
“Last year the commission partnered with the Association of County Commissioners of Alabama to put together a study of existing broadband infrastructure and to try to come up with a plan for the county on how they can advance broadband infrastructure, to those parts of the county that are unserved or underserved,” Mellot said.
Mellot said that some of the broadband goals of the study included providing broadband internet access from a provider to 95% of the county and at least two to 85% of the county.
“The idea, obviously, of the feasibility study is to determine if that is possible or realistic and if not, what are those realistic goals,” he said.
The study showed that close to 30% of the county by area was unserved in broadband, Mellot said, and 42% underserved.
By parcel, however, meaning inhabited areas, only 12.9% is undeserved and 49.4% is underserved.
The final test was to look at potential customers, which showed that there is only 2.9% of the county that is unserved and 34.5% that is underserved. 62.6% of the county is serviced by two or more providers.
“That doesn’t mean that that helps the people who are still in these areas of unserved,” he said. “So then we want to evaluate these gaps and validate the data that we come up with.”
The study included a public survey.
The second part of the study looked at how projects could be implemented, Mellot said.
“You want the most people served for the best cost and try to cover as much of these unserved areas as possible,” he said.
Phase 2, looking at evaluation of how projects can be implemented, has not begun yet, Mellot said.
For anyone interested in seeing maps of served and underserved areas, the video of the commission and the presentation by Mellot is available on the county website.
– The commission heard a report on the solid waste plan.
– The commission heard an update on the building and administrative code.
– The commission heard the first reading of two different water authority boards.
– The commission postponed the first reading and vote on the Beauregard Water Authority Board to the next meeting.
– The commission heard the first reading of the alternative sentencing board.
– The commission approved educational reimbursement requests for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
– The commission approved ABC applications from B&B Beverage management of two different events.