Georgia state lawmakers have focused on broadband expansion in recent years, particularly in rural areas. Governor Kemp’s office also stepped up its efforts during the COVID-19 outbreak, setting up resources like the Georgia Broadband Deployment Initiative which includes a map of public wifi locations for those that do not have broadband access inside of their own homes.
Just last week, Comcast announced a $9 million investment that will add high-speed, gigabit internet service options in Georgia’s Haralson and Carroll counties including Tallapoosa, Mount Zion, Waco and Whitesburg within the next year.
The expansion is expected to provide internet service opportunities to almost 8,000 previously unserved homes and businesses in the region. The service options will include access to Comcast’s Internet Essentials program with options starting at just $10 per month.
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston told the Atlanta Business Journal, “Comcast’s technology investment in Haralson and Carroll Counties will strengthen these communities and create new opportunities by supporting workforce development, education, and quality of life.”
With the Georgia General Assembly back after a 3-month hiatus, the Senate is expected to review and consider the Georgia Broadband Opportunity Act (HB 244) which passed in the House 116-44 in March. The bill would allow broadband providers to connect to existing utility poles and infrastructure at standard, fair rates, making it possible for access to broadband to be expanded to rural, unserved areas of Georgia.
At an event announcing the investment over the weekend, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston told the attendees, “I am hoping HB 244 will pass both chambers by the end of the session and if it does it will make it possible for companies like Comcast to expand their rural broadband networks to more rural communities.”
If passed, broadband providers have committed to providing broadband to over 30,000 new homes and businesses across Georgia within the next 3 years, creating an estimated $70 million in annual economic benefits to Georgians.
To take action and tell Georgia lawmakers to support HB 244, click here.