To improve rural Internet access, the Georgia Joint House and Senate Study Committee on High Speed Broadband Communications Access for All Georgians recommends that Georgia enable municipal networks and empower rural electric cooperatives.
The committee recently released their report on potential solutions for the lack of rural connectivity. They held six public meetings over the course of four months in 2016, consulting with stakeholders and concerned citizens.
Support of Local Government Networks
Specifically, the report recommended that the Georgia legislature:
“Reaffirm the state’s approval of competitive telecommunication markets by continuing to permit locally-owned and operated government broadband services”
In the economic development section of the report, they detailed the positive role of community networks and the challenges in finding financing.
The report pointed to the success of two community networks, Community Network Services (CNS) and ElbertonNet. ElbertonNet is the fifteen-year-old community network of Elberton, Georgia. The report praised the community network’s “tremendous public feedback” and “exceptional customer service.”
CNS is a regional network of eight rural communities in southern Georgia. We've introduced readers to CNS in the past and shared stories of how the network has helped create jobs, improved local STEM educational opportunities, and helped one of the communities it serves reduce taxes. Initially funded by a bank loan, the network contributes over $2 million into the local general fund.
Several statements referred to the fact that the current situation...Read more