A new report shows that the rural broadband situation in Georgia is worse than first thought

CSRA News

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Lawmakers are trying to find ways to provide broadband service to people living in rural areas of Georgia. Put that plan might be on hold.

The FCC discovered providing access to high-speed internet will be more complicated than federal officials first thought.

Like we’ve all learned in school, check your work and then recheck it. That’s what is happening when it comes to providing those of you living in more rural areas high-speed internet. The first check of the mapping by the federal government showed limited reach but a second look by the state has shown the mapping is all wrong.

This is a look at what happened, according to Uncle Sam. If one home on a rural street had high-speed internet, then all the houses had high-speed internet; even though that wasn’t true. Mapping by the state shows every household that does and more importantly doesn’t have high-speed reach.

“We know there is a basic need for internet service,” said director of public relations for Jefferson Energy Cooperative, Steve Chalker. “But what is going to take?”

In the map created above by the Department of Community Affairs, you can see an accurate depiction of the FCC thinking people who have access to the internet, versus those who don’t. Now, the state is conducting its mapping program by counting down to each customer with data from individual broadband providers.

“They are doing for the better of the project,” explained Chalker. “That’s going to get a better idea of what’s out there and what the need is.”

The director of public relations told NewsChannel 6 reporter Devin Johnson, it’s going to be a while before people can surf the web at lightning speed. And he believes the discovery will possibly pushback the time-table.

“When you have just a residence every few miles, and you’re going to run equipment miles out to that, there is a cost associated you have to build that service,” explained Chalker.

Chalkers says once rural Georgia does connect to the web, it could have a positive impact on education to our youth.

“They are more likely to stay here and work here, and have that community grow; which is what we all want,” said Chalker.

Georgia’s new statewide map is expected to be done by the summer of 2020. Chalker says Jefferson Energy Cooperative, and other electric membership cooperatives are asking for patience with the project.

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