VALDOSTA — Lowndes County has received a grant for millions of dollars to bring broadband internet access to thousands of county residents.
Gov. Brian Kemp announced 49 grants to communities and companies statewide for “faster and more reliable” broadband access Tuesday, a statement from the governor’s office said. The grants covered by the American Rescue Plan Act, a package of stimulus efforts approved by Congress in March 2021 which was intended to jump-start the American economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lowndes County was earmarked for $22,514,336.00, the statement said.
The grant would cover broadband availability for more than 18,000 county residents and businesses, said Paige Dukes, county manager.
“We are very excited,” she said. “This has been on the (Lowndes County Commission’s) radar for five years.”
Lowndes County partnered with the internet service provider Windstream to apply for the grant, Dukes said.
The county and Windstream are waiting on details from the state before sitting down and putting together a plan for rolling out service, she said.
The broadband project aims to provide service to people who are “unserved or underserved,” Dukes said.
“Kinetic by Windstream is excited for the residents of Lowndes County and the award that was announced by Gov. Kemp yesterday,” said Michael Foor, president of Georgia state operations for Kinetic, a subsidiary of Windstream. “Through our partnership with the county, we will deliver fiber internet Gig service to more than 18,000 homes and businesses, including more than 14,000 who are considered unserved. Since our employees live and work in the communities we serve, we join Lowndes county in celebrating and look forward to seeing the benefits to the community that result from this investment.”
In surrounding counties, Berrien County was allotted $15.2 million for 4,737 customers, Brooks County received $13.8 million for 3,749 residents and Cook County got a grant $10.9 million for 3,723 customers.
Terry Richards is senior reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times.