Federal dollars secured for Georgia broadband expansion

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs reports there are still hundreds of thousands of Georgians that live in areas without reliable internet access
Federal dollars secured for Georgia broadband expansion
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 7:43 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Imagine you can’t get the internet to work. Roughly half of the people in Merriweather County don’t have access to reliable internet.

Joesph Weatherford and his nephew Benjamin Hill said they can’t get internet. They have to drive to a nearby town to get connected. Hill said it boils down to three things- very few internet providers, slow speeds, or it’s too expensive.

“Last time we checked it was 150 a month, Lagrange has Charter, Atlanta has Xfinity, it would be great if we had more carriers like that with more options and better speeds,” said Hill.

Woodbury Mayor Tonya Moore campaigned on increasing broadband access in her town. In the last year, Moore has secured two broadband towers and worked with companies and organizations to become a Broadband Ready City.

“Everything is set up with the internet now, your job, school functions, everything relies on the internet,” said Moore.

Woodbury is one of the Georgia cities that received a cut of the more than $400 million Governor Brian Kemp designated to increase broadband access throughout the state.

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs found broadband access drops off dramatically outside of metro areas. And while that statewide investment helped, hundreds of thousands of Georgians remain without reliable internet.

Senator Jon Ossoff secured more money to help Georgia communities. Ossoff announced $250 million in federal dollars will come Georgia’s way to address the issue of broadband access.

“I’m working with the Treasury Department to deploy these resources to the state of Georgia. The state of Georgia will then deploy them to broadband internet providers who will be responsible for actually laying fiber and expanding the access,” said Sen. Ossoff.

Communities with the greatest need will be considered for funding. Moore said she is hoping their city can apply for the money. They are looking to extend their antennas and towers to reach more people.