THOMASVILLE – Thomas County Commissioners and two Internet service providers are working to increase Internet capacity in underserved parts of the county.
The Broadband Internet Project provides for the use of fiber optic cable to provide “gigabit speed broadband access” to 4,300 unserved or underserved homes in the unincorporated county . Thomas County is seeking letters of support from the Thomas County Board of Education, Archbold Memorial Hospital, Grady EMS, and the towns of Barwick, Boston, Coolidge, Meigs, Ochlocknee and Pavo.
“The expansion of broadband infrastructure into unserved and underserved areas of Thomas County is critical to the quality of life and economic ownership of our citizens,” said the county commission chairman, Phillip Brown. “An example of this need is the disadvantage that rural students face when school systems turn to virtual learning, as we saw last year. “
County commissioners approved two Georgia Fiscal Recovery Fund grant applications in August. The county and the two companies, Windstream and AT&T, will seek $ 24.4 million in public funding to improve broadband infrastructure in their respective territories.
The two companies will contribute $ 6.8 million and the county will use $ 1.7 million in local matching funds. The commissioners authorized the local matching of $ 1.7 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to improve the chances that the grants will receive state approval. Thomas County can use matching funds from the US bailout or any other source of general government revenue.
Applications must be filed with the governor’s office no later thanOctober 31. For more information, call Celeste Tyler or Mike Stephenson at 225-4100.