As states continue to seek ways to bring broadband to their rural residents, electrical cooperatives in Georgia say they have the answer. The Georgia Solution, as outlined in Telecompetitor.com, is a two part strategy aimed at encouraging cable companies and other providers to get onboard with rural broadband delivery.
The first part of the Georgia Solution is the One Buck Deal. Under this arrangement, qualified broadband providers are offered a financial incentive. If providers agree to deliver new high-speed internet service in electric cooperative service areas that are currently without broadband, they qualify for a financial deal. Participants can pay only one dollar per pole per year for five years to the electric cooperatives if they agree to attach new wires to connect broadband service to those unserved areas.
The second part of The Georgia Solution is the Georgia One-Touch-Make-Ready program. Under this program, broadband providers are asked to do prep work to an electric cooperative’s pole prior attaching wires to that pole to extend the broadband service. A press release from Georgia Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) states that this will allow broadband delivery to advance “without red tape approvals and lengthy delays.”
Dennis Chastain, president and CEO of Georgia EMC, was enthusiastic about the Georgia Solution, stating, “The brave and bold solution offered by the EMCs creates real savings for broadband providers.” Those who sign on prior to July 1, 2021, will qualify for a statewide rate for pole attachment. Chastain added that Georgia co-ops are “deeply committed to doing our part to solve the digital divide.”