JKM Consulting, Inc.
In the rural, economically distressed east-central Alabama region that includes Calhoun, Talladega, Clay, and Randolph Counties, many valuable community organizations rely on slower, copper-based service for their Internet access, and some have no broadband service at all. JKM Consulting’s Project BEAR proposes to deploy a 176-mile fiber network that includes 88 miles of new fiber to provide high-speed, affordable broadband services and directly connect more than 40 community anchor institutions in the four-county region. The project also plans to deploy six wireless access points to facilitate last-mile consumer service in isolated rural areas like Fort McClellan in Anniston, Alabama, and the Talladega National Forest. The project intends to bring fiber to local Public Safety Access Points and other emergency agencies, and strengthen healthcare delivery by connecting rural hospitals such as Clay County and Wedowee Hospital to urban hospitals, enabling telemedicine services such as participation in the Alabama Pediatric Network. The project also expects to enhance local educational opportunities by connecting six community centers, increasing the quality of local after-school and homework programs.