Coastal Georgia Counties Latest to Launch Broadband |
ATLANTA – A local coastal Georgia utility and telephone company is teaming up to provide high-speed broadband service in three counties.
Coastal Electric Cooperative of Midway and Darien Communications will invest $ 40 million with new broadband service provider Coastal Fiber Inc., a subsidiary of the cooperative, to serve 16,000 homes and businesses in Liberty, Bryan and Long counties. The first phase of the project should be completed in four years, with the first customers connected as early as next year.
“I am grateful to Coastal Electric Cooperative for helping hard-working Georgians access new job opportunities, improved educational tools, telemedicine and more,” Governor Brian Kemp said on Tuesday. “This project will provide thousands of Georgians with access to reliable high-speed internet, which is a fundamental building block for continued growth.”
The coastal project is just the latest in a series of broadband expansions launched in rural Georgia since the General Assembly passed a law two years ago allowing Georgian Electric Cooperatives (EMCs) to get started. in broadband. In total, EMC’s broadband projects bring broadband Internet to approximately 200,000 homes and businesses in Georgia.
The state is also stepping up investment of public funds in rural broadband. Between them, the FY2021 semi-annual budget and FY2022 expenditure plan adopted by the General Assembly in this year’s legislative session have allocated $ 30 million for rural broadband projects. .
The governor has also made expanding broadband in Georgia the priority of one of three committees he formed late last month to determine how to spend $ 4.8 billion in federal COVID relief funds. -19.
While it has long been clear that rural Georgia needed high-speed internet connectivity to be economically competitive, the push for broadband projects became even more urgent when the coronavirus pandemic forced schools to close, putting students living in rural areas without internet service at a disadvantage.
“Our community deserves access to the tools that help our residents and businesses participate successfully in today’s economy,” said State Representative Al Williams, D-Midway. “Thanks to Coastal Electric and Darien Communications for making broadband a reality in this area. “