REIDSVILLE, Ga. (WSAV) – People who live in rural parts of Georgia are now closer to having better access to high-speed internet.
Governor Brian Kemp signed legislation which allows Electric Membership Cooperatives to sell high-speed internet to communities that don’t have it.
State Rep. Bill Werkheiser (R) Glennville said this is a game changer. He said it would allow students in rural areas to better complete their homework, potentially improve an areas economy, and allow business owners in these areas a chance to add online services and compete globally.
” If someone grows, is trying to grow their market especially in a rural place, their local customers already know about them, but now people are trying to extend their business through the internet. Well, you need more than a basic minimum low speed,” Werkheiser said.
The law could also improve rural healthcare access allowing healthcare providers such as Jennifer Smith a family nurse practitioner, to serve patients through telemedicine.
“We can do telemedicine over the computer screen. Say they have a skin rash, with the cameras they can show me the rash on the camera and I can diagnosis it the best I can,” Smith said.
Communication specialist Joe Sikes with Canoochee EMC agrees the signing of this law could help improve the lives of people in rural Georgia.
” We are currently weighing our options on what we can do to help our members. Our first priority is always to provide electricity to the members of Canoochee EMC at the lowest possible cost,” Sikes said.
Even though the law is now on the books, it could still take years before high-speed internet is available in some areas.