Governor Kemp announces nearly $408 million in rewards for providing broadband access

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Governor Brian P. Kemp, joined by members of the Broadband Infrastructure Committee and heads of state, today announced nearly $408 million in preliminary awards that will provide communities, households and businesses in 70 Georgia counties access to faster, more reliable broadband. These 49 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant projects represent an investment of more than $738 million in Georgia when matching funds are provided.

“I am very proud that Georgia is once again leading the country in developing collaborative, innovative and fiscally conservative ways to leverage government funding to have a positive impact and serve as many Georgians as possible. “, said Governor Brian P. Kemp. “I would like to thank all members of the Broadband Infrastructure Committee as well as the Office of Planning and Budget Grants Team, and the Georgia Technology Authority Broadband and Special Projects Team for working together to score applications and recommend projects that reflect the greatest needs and interests of hardworking Georgians. We look forward to the positive impact these projects will have when completed. I showed up on the promise of providing opportunities for rural Georgians. If you look at the map of Georgians who will now have access to rural broadband, you will see a promise kept.

On June 29, 2021, Governor Kemp announced the members of the Georgia Employment and Infrastructure Committees. The bipartisan committees were tasked with receiving requests and making recommendations to the governor regarding federal coronavirus relief funds allocated to Georgia under the U.S. bailout. State government entities, local government units, industries, and non-profit organizations were eligible to apply. Specifically, the Broadband Infrastructure Committee was responsible for making the investment recommendations needed to provide unserved or underserved locations with faster and more reliable broadband access.

Today’s announcement represents the initial phase of the rollout. The state is now in a posture of due diligence, gathering tangible information and working with recipients to maximize our ability to serve the most Georgians in the areas most in need. As the due diligence phase concludes based on final U.S. Treasury ARPA guidelines and project grants are finalized, there is an opportunity to reallocate or leverage other federal funds to address areas that may not have been addressed with these grants.

“The volume of applications from all corners of the state proved what we thought we knew: citizens need better broadband options for work, school and play,” said Senator Blake Tillery. “Communities and providers who have done the detailed work of separating RDOF areas, avoiding overbuilding in communities already served, and calculating local and candidate matches to extend state dollars to more citizens have got these grants. These awards are a giant step towards closing the technology gap between our urban and rural communities.

Thanks to the hard work and forward thinking of the Legislature, the Department of Community Affairs, and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, the Georgia Broadband Availability Map is a wonderful resource that has helped the state identify the need for these projects. . Building on this map, emphasis has been placed on selecting projects that will help maintain a level playing field for private sector competition, also considering parallel funding streams available for access or Broadband expansion – such as the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). Geography was also taken into account in order to distribute the funds equitably.

“I am excited to see the impact these grants will have on connecting more Georgians to broadband and the improved access to education and businesses they will create,” said Rep. Terry England.

Based on data from the Georgia Broadband Availability Map, 482,374 locations in Georgia are currently unserved as of July 2021. Projects targeted by these awards could serve 183,615 locations – representing both homes and businesses – with a faster and more reliable broadband. 132,050 of those locations are currently unserved based on state data.

In addition to this historic investment in broadband expansion in Georgia, the FCC’s RDOF program has awarded $326 million in funding that will also bring service to nearly 180,000 unserved locations over the next few years. Due to the proximity and connection to the Broadband Infrastructure Committee awards, many of these project timelines are expected to accelerate.

The Office of the Governor would like to thank all of the committee members who played a key role in evaluating the nominations:

• Russell McMurry – Commissioner, Georgia Department of Transportation
• Jannine Miller – Director of Planning, Georgia Department of Transportation
• Christopher Nunn – Commissioner, Georgia Department of Community Affairs
• Teresa MacCartney – Acting Chancellor, University System of Georgia
• Greg Dozier – Commissioner, Georgia Technical College System
• Shawnzia Thomas – Executive Director, Georgia Technology Authority
• Richard Woods – Superintendent of Public Schools, Georgia Department of Education
• Eric Toler – Executive Director, Georgia Cyber ​​Center
• Michael Nix – Executive Director, Georgia Emergency Communications Authority
• Frank Smith – Deputy Executive Director, State Properties Commission
• Senator Blake Tillery – Chairman, Senate Appropriations Committee
• Rep. Terry England – Chair, House Appropriations Committee
• Rep. Clay Pirkle – Secretary, House State Properties Committee
• Rep. Patty Bentley – Secretary, House Higher Education Committee
• Rep. Jodi Lott – Governor Floor Manager
• Senator Bo Hatchett – Governor’s Floor Manager
• Senator Harold Jones – Secretary, Senate Ethics Committee
• Senator Steve Gooch – State Senate Majority Whip

Awards

In total, Governor Kemp today announced 49 projects. Many represent public-private partnerships. In total, most of the recipients were local governments and nonprofit organizations, and 14 service providers are represented, spanning the gamut from large enterprises, EMCs, and local Georgia-based telecommunications companies. A full list is available below:

Beneficiary, amount of the prize, number proposed to be served:

Altamaha EMC: $5,973,474.00; 2,171
Baldwin County: $917,916.50; 751
Berrien County: $15,253,250.00; 4,737
Brooks County: $13,848,183.00; 3,749
Central Georgia EMC: $25,042,591.14; 19,996
Chattooga County: $3,040,732.00; 3,392
Colquitt County: $22,578,814.00; 7,448
Cook County: $10,919,655.00; 3,723
Dawson County Development Authority: $1,332,621.00; 563
Lumpkin County Development Authority: $3,779,902.00; 6,403
Miscellaneous Power Incorporated: $25,000,000.00; 4,769
First County: $11,394,739.00; 2,683
Elberton: $1,071,298.00; 836
Fannin County Development Authority: $3,013,576.00; 996
Flint EMC: $25,048,343.81; 10,659
Franklin County Board of Commissioners: $8,714,856.00; 2,812
Georgia Telecommunications Association – Brantley Telephone Company (Charlton): $665,500.00; 513
Georgia Telecommunications Association – Elijay Telephone Company (Cherokee): $773,688.00; 385
Georgia Telecommunications Association-Chickamauga Telephone Company: $489,756.01; 123
Georgia Telecommunications Association -Hargray (Camden): $593,213.00; 1,289
Georgia Telecommunications Association – Hargray (Chatham): $206,774.00; 504
Georgia Telecommunications Association – Hargray (Tattnall): $216,916.00; 148
Georgia Telecommunications Association – Plant Telephone Company: $2,229,000.00; 2,170
Georgia Telecommunications Association – Trenton Telephone Company (Dade): $6,500,000.00; 943
Habersham County: $5,784,859.00; 3,199
Jenkins County: $11,907,225.00; 1,875
Gilmer and Pickens County Joint Development Authority: $21,418,727.00; 4,259
Lee County Board of Commissioners: $12,541,241.00; 4,234
Lowndes County: $22,514,336.00; 18,218
McDuffie County: $3,817,531.00; 2,405
EMC Omulgee: $19,200,341.41; 9,000
One Sumter Economic Development Foundation, Inc.: $25,387,600.00; 5,726
Southern Rivers Energy: $15,682,160.77; 10,674
Southeast Spectrum Chattahoochee: $248,027.00; 446
Clarke Southeast Spectrum: $1,094,340.00; 574
Southeast Green Spectrum: $4,931,326.00; 1,583
Spectrum Southeast Hall: $689,201.00; 831
Southeast Spectrum Newton: $998,651.00; 1,729
Southeast Polk Spectrum: $4,236,574.00; 2,272
Stephens County: $2,807,804.00; 1,393
Stewart County Commission: $6,662,285.00; 2,729
Terrell County: $9,641,770.00; 2,270
Thomas County Board of Commissioners: $6,840,302.00; 2,098
Twiggs County: $4,660,846.00; 2,034
Union County: $11,162,231.00; 8,256
Upson County Board of Commissioners: $4,430,000.00; 2,124
Walker County: $6,253,152.00; 3,339
Walton County: $3,159,215.00; 4,084
Washington EMC: $13,227,635.38: $6,500


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