Can EMCs Be Broadband Saviors for Rural Georgia?


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Earlier this year, SB 2 passed in Georgia, allowing 41 Electric Membership Co-operatives (EMCs) to provide broadband internet to rural areas, reported the Times-Enterprise. According to lawmakers, the community needs to push the EMCs to move forward. Per state Rep. Darlene Taylor, it’s not unusual to find children in McDonald’s using their internet access to complete homework. 

“In Thomas County, if you live out in the county and you don’t have internet, you’re behind the eight-ball,” she said. 

Regarding improved broadband access and speed, Taylor added, “That also will open the doors for businesses that can have a place to come to in a rural community. In some places, it’s so slow, a business couldn’t function.”

Lawmakers noted that the investment would be significant. “The state will come up with what we can,” said Taylor. “But the state doesn’t have the trillions of dollars it would cost to put it everywhere.” The Times-Enterprise reported that EMCs might have to borrow money to make the rural broadband initiative a reality.

“We will be finding a solution, in some way, shape or form, bringing broadband into our rural communities,” Taylor said. “I feel like we are almost in the same position we were in the 1930s when we had to bring electricity to rural communities.”

November 4, 2019

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