Georgia lawmakers approve bill to expand high speed internet access in rural areas

Local News

REIDSVILLE, Ga. (WSAV) – Georgia lawmakers have approved a bill that would allow electric member cooperatives or corporations to sell internet service.

Senate bill two passed in the house Tuesday 160 to zero and in the senate 54 to two. Joe Sikes, the communications specialist with Canoochee EMC, said this bill is vital because it will allow cooperatives to help expand high-speed internet access to rural areas, like Reidsville  

Sikes also said it’s important because it could help level the playing field for rural people in areas such as for education, but could also help businesses owners boost their profits.

 “Small businesses will be able to grow.  We’ve done a feasability study [and] we’re weighing the results, but some of our informal on our social media,  we’ve been told many times at how our members of Canoochee would like to expand their businesses but can’t because they just don’t have what they need,” Sikes said.

However, he said bringing faster internet speeds to rural areas will not be easy and could take years. 
If Canoochee offered internet service to customers it could be through a partnership with another EMC or local telephone company. 

 “There are lots of opportunities. We are open to many of those that’s where the discussion comes in. We have to do what’s right for the members of Canoochee and we will do what’s right for them,” Sikes said

Reidsville resident Kiara Brewton said the possibility of getting faster internet is exciting. Currently, she said service is slow and if too many devices are connected it barely works, and that’s frustrating. 

 “I be aggravated I’m not going to sit up here and lie. I be very, very aggravated. So, therefore, I have to log something off so you know the speed could pick back up” Brewton said.

The bill is now awaiting governor Kemp’s signature. We’ll keep you updated on what happens.

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