Lawmakers are prioritizing access to high-speed internet to the people living in rural Georgia

CSRA News

Imagine being out of the loop of what’s happening in your community. Millions of Georgians in rural areas have that issue. 

Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill that would allow 41 Electric Membership Corporations to sell internet service. That means those people will soon have high-speed internet at their fingertips.

“Some of our EMA stations can’t get broadband coverage to them,” said IT director with Burke County Board of Commissioners, Loren Barnhart.

Barnhart says that not being able to connect to the web is a struggle for some people in Burke County. He believes the bill keeps new and growing businesses in unserved areas.

“Maybe someone wants a home-based business to be able to set up shop at their house,” explained Barnhart. “And to be able to do business from their house, where they couldn’t necessarily do it before.” 

Even our farmers need access to the internet.

The owner Byne Blueberry Farms in Waynesboro told NewsChannel 6 reporter, Devin Johnson, having high-speed internet will benefit farmers, especially during severe weather. 

“Nobody is going to call you, all of a sudden there is a tornado or a bad storm, and you’re out of electricity,” said Dick Byne. “If you prepared for it, you might have shifted some things around to get prepared for it. Yeah, I would like to get in the 21st century.”

The new bill will not only benefit those who live in rural areas but also help us, the reporters who sometimes have connectivity issues when we come out to these areas. 

“If you’re riding around the farm, just because you’re on a tractor, and all of a sudden someone needs to get in touch with you, they don’t know that you’re in a dead spot,” explained Byne. “They just assume you’re not interested, or they can’t get with you to give you the information.” 

Experts estimate the project will cost more than $1 billion to connect the entire state.

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