ABBEVILLE, Ala. (WDHN) — Overall, broadband access in Alabama has lacked for quite some time specifically in rural areas.

And two years ago, the pandemic exacerbated the inconvenience.

“Broadband is more of a necessity its not just an option anymore we need it for healthcare we have people who are trying to apply for jobs,” said Rhonda Harrison, Henry County Economic Development Director.

Henry County has gotten the ball rolling — they have held three strategic broadband expansion meetings with members on the digital expansion authority board and elected officials to discuss the first areas to spend the federal dollars.

“When the schools closed and they had to do virtual learning, they learned a lot where our dead spots are in terms of coverage, Haleburg, Shorterville have practically no coverage,” Harrison said.

In fact, superintendent Lori Beasley said Henry County Schools are looking at other alternatives to battle virtual learning in case there is another pandemic.

Since Governor Ivey signed the connect Alabama act, the state has moved up to 38th in the nation regarding broadband access — some counties in the blackbelt have already begun expanding.

As for Henry County, the application process for internet providers is open and should come to a close in the next week or two.

“We want Henry County to know that their elected officials are working on it and voices have been heard,” She added.