December 4th, 2020 – 10:07 AM
Gordon County Board of Commissioners –
Comcast, through testimony filed in a docket at the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), has committed to expanding the reach of its high speed broadband network to 1,000 new homes and businesses in Gordon County should the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) align the state’s electric membership cooperatives’ (EMCs) pole rental rates and conditions to national standards.
This expansion would include the cities of Adairsville, Calhoun, Fairmount, Resaca and Plainville. The opportunity to incentivize private broadband expansion comes as a result of the Georgia Broadband Opportunity Act, which was adopted by the Georgia General Assembly and signed by Governor Kemp earlier this year.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for broadband to support distance learning, remote workers, digital commerce and a basic quality of life for those in Gordon County,” said Commission Chair Becky Hood. “Internet access is a necessity, not a luxury. We can’t afford to wait and see if there is a better option in the future.”
“I’m proud to say that should the PSC align pole rental rates and conditions for Georgia’s EMCs to national standards established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Comcast will extend its network to 20,000 homes and businesses in Georgia over the next 3 years,” said Jason Gumbs, Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Big South Region. “Gordon County is among 10 rural broadband expansion projects Comcast has proposed to complete upon the Georgia PSC’s adoption of the Georgia Cable Association’s (GCA) proposed pole attachment reform.”
Other cable broadband providers are also ready to grow in rural Georgia and have committed under in writing, under oath to the Georgia PSC to serve a total of up to 35,000 homes and businesses in the next three years with the adoption of the GCA’s proposed pole reform.
Residents may visit https://georgiansforbroadband.
“If the PSC determines current EMC pole attachment rates are excessive and sets a new cost-based formula consistent with the national standards proposed by our expert witnesses, our cable broadband providers are ready to reinvest savings in rural broadband expansion in Georgia,” said Michael Power, Executive Director at the Georgia Cable Association. “This is what’s best for Georgia – private broadband providers are best positioned to deliver broadband to the most homes, in the least amount of time, at the best value for our citizens and taxpayers.”
Comcast has a long history in Georgia with more than 4,500 in-state employees and $2.9 billion invested in its technology and infrastructure since 2011 to build the fastest, most reliable online experience. The company operates a 53,000-mile network in Georgia and is building 900 new network miles in the state each year. They currently double the capacity of their network every 18 months.
With this local broadband expansion, more than 1,000 homes and businesses here in our county will have access to Comcast’s entire suite of Xfinity residential services including data, video, voice and mobile. Comcast Business products would include data, voice and video services
Comcast’s expansion would also provide families with access to Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, the nation’s largest and most successful broadband adoption initiative for low-income families. Since 2011, Internet Essentials has helped connect 480,000 low-income individuals to the internet in Georgia.
The PSC will issue its decision by December 15.