Twiggs County hoping to get a boost in high-speed internet

Abraham Stephens has lived in Twiggs County his entire life. He says access to the internet in the area is terrible.

TWIGGS COUNTY, Ga. — According to Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs, Twiggs County is one of the most underserved areas in Central Georgia for high-speed internet.

Only about a quarter of the area gets broadband.

Some in Twiggs County seem hopeful as Governor Brian Kemp invested $240 million to continue expansion of the high-speed internet to Georgians.

13WMAZ’s Jessica Cha went to Twiggs to talk to some folks about internet users’ need for speed.

“I don’t care what kind of telephone you have– Verizon or whatever–your phone is going to go dead,” says Abraham Stephens. 

Stephens has lived in Twiggs County his entire life. He says access to the internet in the area is terrible.

“A lot of time I do a lot of things on the internet as far as communicating with people, and I cannot do that — it’s the service that goes out and stuff. I have to wait to get back to Bibb County? Oh, no,” he explains. 

Stephens says certain areas of town like Highway 80 get no signal at all. He says he even has two phones on hand because service is always unpredictable.

“We might need more towers or something like that, but something needs to happen because we have a lot of young people who don’t have access to the internet, and the youth really need it,” Stephens says. 

Antonio Clay is a yard worker in Twiggs County.

“It’s a social network out here. Everybody try to stay in touch with everybody,” he exclaims. 

Clay says he lives in a more rural area and says the lack of good internet access affects him a lot. 

“I got a daughter in South Carolina, so I have to try to get in touch with her as much as I can, and when the internet goes down like that, it’s really hard to pick up and it’s really hard to get in contact with her,” he explains. 

 Clay says bad internet service even affects the local businesses.

“I was wanting to use my card in the stores and the server dropped down– it won’t pick up the service of the card.”.

They say possible grant money from the state gives them hope, but they won’t believe it until they see it.

“Go ahead and put it into action. If we got this money, then use it. Hopefully, they can use it within 30 days. Don’t play around, go ahead and use this money for the children,” Stephens says. 

In February, Governor Kemp said he wanted to extend broadband to 180,000 locations. He says at the end of the year, the state will have dedicated $1 billion to closing the digital divide.

 Kemp’s office says they don’t know how much Twiggs County may qualify for.

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