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Kemp announces broadband effort to help rural CSRA residents

Published: Apr. 16, 2021 at 10:06 AM EDT
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SANDERSVILLE, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Efforts to expand broadband access to unserved areas of Georgia continue as Gov. Brian Kemp and Public Service Commissioner Tricia Pridemore made an announcement in Washington County today.

Kemp announced that Washington EMC will form a new partnership with Conexon Connect to provide high-speed fiber internet to more than 12,000 homes and businesses in Baldwin, Emanuel, Glascock, Hancock, Jefferson, Johnson, Laurens, Warren, Washington and Wilkinson counties.

“The announcement we are making today will have a real impact on hardworking Georgians, providing new job opportunities, improved education tools and access to telemedicine,” Kemp said. “This is yet another example of why I signed Senate Bill 2 in 2019 to allow EMCs the authority to provide broadband service. The legislation is doing exactly what it was intended to do – encourage EMCs and community leaders to work together on developing innovative solutions to close the gap on the digital divide in our state.”

The partnership includes a capital investment of more than $54.5 million with the Washington EMC electric utility investing $52 million and Conexon Connect contributing $2.5 million.

The companies will build a 3,000-mile fiber network that will:

  • Provide improved electric service and increased reliability through smart grid capabilities.
  • Provide high-speed internet access to all 12,200 utility members within the next three years, beginning as early as first quarter 2022.

Conexon works exclusively with electric cooperatives like Washington EMC.

The service will be powered by Washington EMC fiber, but Conexon Connect will provide the retail internet service to homes and businesses, managing account set-up, customer service, operations, marketing and billing.

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