Credit: Grant Blankenship/GPB
Internet in West Georgia will get a speed boost from $36 million USDA loan
LISTEN: Communities across a swath of central and west Georgia can look forward to high-speed fiber optic internet following the announcement of a $36 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Communities across a swath of central and west Georgia can look forward to high-speed fiber optic internet following the announcement of a $36 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The loan to Roberta-based Public Service Telephone Company will help bring high-speed internet to rural Bibb, Crawford, Taylor and Marion counties and comes from billions of dollars set aside for broadband in the federal Infrastructure Law.
Walter Turner is the mayor of Reynolds in Taylor County. During the announcement of the loan Thursday in downtown Roberta, Turner likened the push to the days of rural electrification.
“Electricity at our house was one bulb hanging from a yellow cord, but it became irreplaceable,” Turner said. “And it's the same way with broadband. Broadband has now become irreplaceable.”
Turner said he hopes that in this age of remote work, high-speed internet might also mean workers would choose his town.
Interim superintendent of Crawford County Schools Chris Ridley said schools’ distance learning programs during the COVID pandemic made clear the disparities in internet access for rural students. He’s looking forward to what the new connectivity will mean for homework and special research projects.
“So this will allow them to be able to get in and get those projects done,” Ridley said.
The USDA selected the Georgia site to announce 49 other similar awards across the country.