Counties in orange are part of the newly announced broadband internet initiative. Counties in blue are in older initiatives.
Caption
Counties in orange are part of the newly announced broadband internet initiative. Counties in blue are in older initiatives.
Credit: DATA: Office of the Governor

About 80,000 customers of electrical cooperatives across an 18-county area south of Atlanta will have new access to high-speed internet in coming years. 

Gov. Brian Kemp and a slew of legislators lauded the $210 million investment by Central Georgia EMC and Southern Rivers Energy into high-speed fiber internet during a press conference at the capitol Monday. The infrastructure will be built out by the Kansas-based Conexon company. 

The project will begin in Clayton County before ending after just touching Bibb County to the south. It will extend as far east as Putnam County and west as far as Meriwether County. 

The new project brings to about 45 the number of Georgia counties which have seen, or are expecting, new broadband access made possible by a 2019 Georgia law that gave electrical co-ops the option of getting into the internet service business.

However, the initiative billed as rural broadband expansion so far has largely missed rural counties in which Black Georgians either are or are near the majority.