Company wins $10.2M grant for rural cell service

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ARLINGTON, Ala. (AP) — A small cell phone company has won a more than $10 million federal grant to expand wireless service in one of Alabama's most isolated regions.

The Federal Communications Commission says Pine Belt Cellular was the only company that sought the money to build new cell phone infrastructure along almost 1,600 miles of roads in five west Alabama counties.

The president of the company, John Nettles, says Pine Belt will use the funding to construct and connect towers and antennas in parts of Choctaw, Dallas, Marengo, Perry and Wilcox counties.

The company faces a three-year deadline to establish at least 3G service in the region, where broad areas now lack any cell phone service.

The FCC says the grant money was awarded competitively through an auction.



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