Working to bring high-speed internet to Coastal Georgia

LIBERTY COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) – In 2019, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed Senate Bill 2, which allows electric membership cooperatives to provide broadband service.

This legislation aims to provide more reliable internet access to unserved areas of Georgia.

These barrels contain more than half a million feet of fiber optic cable to help bring better broadband to eastern Liberty County.

“Portions of eastern Liberty and eastern Bryan have unserved areas. These are areas where they’re limited to a simple DSL line,” Coastal Electric CEO Chris Fettes said.

Coastal Electric is partnering with Darien Telephone to improve internet connectivity. Something Fettes is much needed in the area.

“We get calls from some of our own customers asking ‘when is broadband coming, because right now, I’m struggling to work from home.’ The pandemic brought out a lot of the weaknesses in the infrastructure across the country,” Fettes said.

These workers are splicing the fibers together that will eventually connect miles and miles of cables. To date, about 29 miles have already been installed.

“For many years, the rural areas are the last to get served by whatever the new technology is. Eighty years ago, it was electricity, they were the last to get connected to electricity,” Fettes said.

This server room is the behind-the-scenes of internet connection.

By the end of spring, Fettes says about 2,000 customers will have access to improved broadband. The process is expected to span four years, with a total of 16,000 people eligible.

“Once you have high-speed broadband access, the possibilities really become limitless.”

The first group of customers will be able to apply for service in four to six weeks.

To see if your home qualifies for improved broadband service, please click here.

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