Officials with local energy provider, Carroll EMC, have said that they are closely monitoring the progress of at least one legislative bill that aims to give rural communities across the state access to fast and reliable internet. Among the interest in this bill for Carroll EMC, is that should the bill be adopted, Carroll EMC could play a large role in getting the service out to rural communities.
Communications Manager for Carroll EMC, Jay Gill, said, “Internet and connectivity and broadband is as important today as electricity was in the 1930’s, which is kind of how the EMC came about. Which I said is the same dilemma on the horizon and we realized that the EMC’s are going to have to be a part of the solution because we have all the infrastructure running out into the rural areas that other companies just can’t afford to build out. So we realize that we are going to have an important role with getting broadband out into the rural areas of Georgia.”
Gill continued that Carroll EMC could allow the high-speed lines to travel alongside Carroll EMC’s existing power lines, “First and foremost we are talking about fiber, attaching fiber along our poles in our territory. We have 5,300 miles of line covering six counties, 1,100 square miles of territory. So that is a lot of fiber to hang. It gets very expensive as a cooperative, as a not for profit company. It is hard to say that we are just going to take on that endeavor. It really is going to depend on the partner in the situation.”
The rural broadband legislation getting the most attention this session is the achieving connectivity everywhere act, or ACE Act. This bill would expand broadband connectivity throughout rural Georgia.