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Fiber Ready: Marengo County industrial parks get tech updates

AT&T Director of External and Legislative Affairs Ty Fondren and University of Alabama Economic Development Academy Director Neal Wade were on hand for a luncheon in Linden on Tuesday to announce that three Marengo County industrial parks now had access to the latest in fiber optics, an important step in luring new industries to the area.

Fondren announced that AT&T, along with Marengo County, the City of Demopolis and the City of Linden, have reached certified AT&T Fiber Ready status within Airport Industrial Park, Industrial Park South and Linden Industrial Park.

“AT&T continues to deploy leading-edge technology,” said Ty Fondren, AT&T director of external and legislative affairs. “Our goal for the AT&T Fiber Ready certification is to help clearly message that Alabama is connected as economic developers and community leaders work to bring new business to our state and drive growth for the ones that already call our communities home.”

From left, Demopolis City Councilman Cleveland Cole, MCEDA Executive Director Chris Bontrager and Demopolis Mayor John Laney celebrate the three county industrial parks, two of which are in Demopolis, becoming AT&T Fiber Ready.

The AT&T fiber network provides the bandwidth needed to support data intensive services such as video, collaboration, cloud services and more through products such as Ethernet, Virtual Private Networking, Managed Internet Service and AT&T Business Fiber. Customers can complement their high-speed Internet with network security options and online backup to help protect and virtualize their business-critical information, according to Fondren.

The meeting also served as an opportunity to discuss economic development.

During a presentation, Wade spoke on nine economic development lessons local elected officials need to know when trying to drive growth in a community or local area.

One of those key principals was about the importance for the Marengo communities to work together to make the county a desirable destination to acquire new businesses as well as to help keep the established businesses here.

The call for togetherness sparked comments from Thomaston Mayor Jeff Laduron on how he has been able to work together with local officials for improvements in Thomaston and from Demopolis Mayor John Laney on how Demopolis and the county have a unique “window of opportunity” to provide local businesses with a trained workforce through a renewed use of the Higher Education Center with Shelton State Community College.

The AT&T Fiber Ready designation could help economic development leaders more effectively position their communities for site selection by emphasizing the availability of high-speed, fiber-based services.

“AT&T continues to invest in high-speed internet in urban and rural areas all across Alabama using the latest wired and wireless technologies, and, today, we are proud to highlight Airport Industrial Park, Industrial Park South and Linden Industrial Park among the numerous places in Alabama where AT&T’s fiber infrastructure is in place and ready to help community leaders drive job creation,” said Mickey Harbin, AT&T Alabama assistant vice president of external and legislative affairs.

“There are a number of excellent reasons to invest and locate in Marengo County. Today, we are highlighting another reason – fiber infrastructure with high-speed communication capabilities in the Airport Industrial Park, Industrial Park South and Linden Industrial Park,” said State Senator Bobby Singleton. “AT&T’s Fiber Ready designation will help us advertise to potential investors from around the world that we are ready to meet their needs right here in Demopolis and Linden.”

“Our state has great people and beautiful places, and we want to be sure it’s clear we also have cutting-edge technology,” said Representative A. J. McCampbell. “The AT&T Fiber Ready certification helps our economic development leaders share this message clearly as they work to bring businesses and jobs to Alabama.”

“Our resources in Marengo County are extensive, but if companies aren’t aware of the infrastructure in place, then we face the potential of missing opportunities. The AT&T Fiber Ready certification helps us communicate the existence of our fiber infrastructure and eliminate those missed opportunities,” said Christopher Bontrager, executive director of Marengo County Economic Development Authority. “The AT&T Fiber Ready designation is a great economic development tool for us to have.”

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, Sept. 6, print edition of the Demopolis Times.)