Residential high-speed internet coming to Jemison

Published 8:02 pm Monday, November 7, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

Alabama Lightwave will bring broadband internet to Jemison following the necessary franchise approval by the Jemison City Council.

The council unanimously authorized Mayor Eddie Reed to sign a three-year franchise agreement with the company during its Nov. 7 meeting.  The agreement is required for the company to have wireless internet poles in the road right-of-way to provide high-speed internet to the city. Alabama Lightwave will be tying into the Uniti Fiber network that is already available to businesses in Jemison.

Uniti Fiber only provides internet for businesses. Councilman Rex Bittle said the new service would fill the city’s gap in broadband options for residential customers.

City Administrator Shannon Welch said the council researched Alabama Lightwave since its presentation at the last meeting, including a visit to governmental customers in Centreville and Brent. He said everyone they talked to recommended the system, calling it a “great service.”

“They offer very competitive rates for their speeds,” Welch said. “They are a true broadband and symmetrical.”

This means customers get the same upload and download speeds.

“After this is done, and they do everything with the FCC, they said they could have it up and running somewhere in between a 30-45 day period,” Welch said.

The city will also be offering two high elevation structures for the internet antennas to be mounted on to provide maximum coverage of the city. Welch said the system provides service in a five-mile line of sight from the antennas.

“There are no contracts to the customers,” Welch said. “We did that so if another true fiber company came in and installed fiber optic in the city, any of our citizens that had that service (Alabama Lightwave) and wanted to swap over to the true fiber service there wasn’t any kind of legalities that would give our citizens heartburn.”

Since the company already has service in Bibb County, which uses AT&T internet, adding the Jemison location will give each system a back up if service goes down in one area.

Reed, Bittle and Welch thanked the Jemison residents that had reached out to Alabama Lightwave and expressed interest in the company expanding there.

Reed noted that some Jemison High School graduates already work for the company.

Also during the meeting, the council unanimously approved a $1,000 donation to the United Way of Central Alabama.