Broadband internet expanding to rural areas in Georgia

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FORSYTH, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Broadband internet is expanding in Middle Georgia. Central Georgia EMC Customers could get internet access as soon as this summer.

Governor Brian Kemp announced Monday that Central Georgia EMC and Southern Rivers Energy will partner with Conexon to provide high speed internet to 80,000 homes and businesses in 18 Middle Georgia counties.

“This announcement represents the best of rural Georgia and what can happen here in the Peach state,” Governor Kemp said. “EMCs, private partners and community leaders working together on creative solutions to close the gap of those with internet service and those without.”

Herschel Arant, the Senior Vice President of Engineering and Energy Supply for Central Georgia EMC, says the pandemic highlighted inadequacies of internet access in rural areas. Arant says community members worked to provide hot spots for children to do school work, but those solutions are band-aids to a bigger problem.

“That’s why the EMCs are making the investments required in order to ensure in the long run the members of our cooperative have access to the broadband they need,” Arant said.

The partnership includes a $210 million investment. Central Georgia EMC invested $135 million and Conexon will contribute $21.5 million. Monroe County committed $1.3 million in local funds to incentivize the EMCs. Commissioner George Emami says the project is exciting.

“We see the economic value of it, we know that there are going to be businesses of people that can work from their home that might not have been able to otherwise,” Emami said.

Arant says they are planning to build almost 7,000 miles of fiber network in the spring. They expect customers to start having access by June. Options from Conexon include 100 Megabits for about $50 a month. You could opt for 1 Gigabit for about $80 a month. He says having broadband internet is important to maintaining a good quality of life.

“A lack of broadband is a real drag on the economy, our ability to live, work, and play, and just do the things that we need to do as members of our community,” Arant said.

Commissioner Emami says having internet as quickly as possible to as many people as possible was an important factor. He says they have worked hard to innovate a solution for the community.

“To me this is like perfect government you know we get a lot of things wrong but dang it I think this is something we really did right this time,” Emami said.

How to sign up

  • Head to the Central Georgia EMC website and Facebook page for updates
  • They will post updates when it’s time for customers to sign up