Meridiam launches $230m high-speed fiber broadband project in Alabama’s Black Belt Region

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Meridiam, a global leader in sustainable infrastructure investments, has announced the groundbreaking of a pivotal high-speed fiber-optic network project designed to significantly enhance broadband access across the underserved Black Belt region of Alabama. The comprehensive project, spearheaded by Yellowhammer Networks—a fiber-to-the-premises network developer financed by Meridiam—envisions the deployment of a robust fiber-optic network spanning over 300 miles. This ambitious endeavor aims to deliver unparalleled broadband connectivity to 53,000 households and businesses, fostering digital inclusivity and economic growth within the region.

With a total investment of $230 million, the project is uniquely structured to be developed, built, financed, and managed by Meridiam and Yellowhammer Networks, without imposing any financial burden on local governments or taxpayers. This substantial financial commitment underscores the project’s strategic importance in bridging the prevailing digital divide and enabling equitable access to high-speed internet services across the Black Belt region.

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Omnipoint, chosen as the initial Internet Service Provider (ISP) partner, will play a crucial role in offering new, affordable, and high-quality fiber broadband services. Targeted areas for these services include pivotal communities such as Selma, Demopolis, and broader regions within Bibb, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Marengo, Perry, Sumter, and Wilcox counties. This strategic collaboration aims to revitalize these areas by providing essential digital infrastructure for schools, businesses, and households.

Nicolas Rubio, CEO for the Americas at Meridiam, emphasized the project’s core mission to eliminate the digital divide that undermines economic prosperity and social equity. “Meridiam is dedicated to filling critical fiber infrastructure gaps and helping eliminate the divide that excludes millions of people from our digital society and compromises economic growth for all,” Rubio stated, affirming Yellowhammer Networks’ commitment to making high-speed broadband accessible to all residents, irrespective of income levels.

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Echoing the sentiment on the indispensability of broadband connectivity, Mayor James Perkins of Selim highlighted the criticality of making high-speed fiber broadband universally accessible. “High-speed reliable broadband is no longer nice to have. Today, it’s as important as gas, water, and electricity,” Mayor Perkins remarked, underscoring the necessity for cities like Selma to build future-proof digital infrastructure.

This Alabama project is part of Meridiam’s broader initiative to invest over $2.7 billion in digital infrastructure worldwide, aiming to connect more than 1.3 million homes, particularly in rural and underserved areas. Through these investments, Meridiam strives to facilitate instant communication, equal access to essential services, and entrepreneurial opportunities for all segments of society, thereby contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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Since its inception in 2005, Meridiam has been at the forefront of developing sustainable and transformative infrastructure solutions. The firm currently manages over 120 projects globally, focusing on low-carbon solutions, sustainable mobility, and critical public services, demonstrating its unwavering commitment to fostering sustainable development and digital inclusivity across the globe.

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