Governor Brian Kemp announced Friday that Altamaha EMC (AEMC) has formed a subsidiary, Altamaha Fiber, to bring broadband service to residents and businesses in Toombs, Montgomery, Laurens, Emanuel, Treutlen, Johnson, and Tattnall Counties in rural southeast Georgia.
“This is great news for the people of southeast Georgia who have been in need of high-speed internet service,” said Governor Kemp. “Since signing Senate Bill 2 in 2019 which authorized EMCs to provide broadband, it’s been encouraging to see our state’s EMCs stepping up to help the communities they serve. Senate Bill 2 is helping us deliver on our promise to give communities more options to move the needle on expanding broadband service to all Georgians – not just those who live in densely populated areas.”
An estimated $29 million of the project was made possible by funds secured through the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC), Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), Phase 1 Reverse Auction, and the USDA’s ReConnect program.
Altamaha EMC has already begun construction of the fiber-to-the-premises network through the cooperative’s broadband affiliate, Altamaha Fiber, which will provide the broadband service. The project is expected to be complete within 3 – 5 years, with service available to some members as early as the end of 2021.
The announcement was held at LG Herndon Jr. Farms, Inc. in Lyons and was attended by Congressman Rick Allen, members of the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), members of the Georgia General Assembly, and a number of local elected officials.
“Quality broadband access is key to competing in a 21st-century economy,” said PSC Commissioner Jason Shaw. “You can’t participate in e-commerce, education, or telemedicine without access to the internet. It’s that simple. I’m so pleased to be here today and grateful for the leaders of Altamaha EMC who are willing to provide this critical service to their members and community.”
“We’re embarking on a new journey for our co-op and members,” said Altamaha EMC General Manager Romanous Dotson. “We’ve listened to our members who say they are desperate for access to adequate broadband service. Very soon, they won’t have to visit a library, restaurant, or other public facility that has adequate service in order to do school work, shop, pay bills, or have a virtual visit with their doctor. This will be a huge and welcomed change for them.”
With today’s announcement, Altamaha EMC makes 19 EMCs in Georgia that are currently providing high-speed internet or partnering with a provider to help expand broadband service in unserved communities throughout the state. EMC broadband projects in the past year include announcements from Amicalola EMC, Carroll EMC, Central Georgia EMC, Coastal Electric, Colquitt EMC, Diverse Power, Middle Georgia EMC, Satilla REMC, Southern Rivers Energy, Sumter EMC, Tri-County EMC, and Washington EMC resulting in expanded access for thousands of Georgia homes and businesses.