Rural broadband in Georgia is lacking, but it turns out that some metro-Atlanta counties are also experiencing shortages, according to the Saporta Report. The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) is devising a plan to bolster broadband in Atlanta and statewide to alleviate the gaps in coverage for an estimated 30 percent of residents. PSC’s plan should be ready by December 15.
The metro counties affected by the broadband shortages include Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett. An interactive map released in summer 2020 by the state Department of Community Affairs (DCA) shed light on the broadband service inadequacies.
The pandemic has exacerbated the lack of broadband, noted Saporta Report. According to DCA, 54 percent of Taliaferro County is not covered by broadband, which forced school kids to use buses equipped with hotspots to accomplish virtual learning.
Earlier this year, the state legislature instructed the PSC to set terms to govern broadband provisions. Stipulations indicate that cable companies and electric membership corporations must reach agreements to install broadband wires on power poles.
Historically, the two entities have brokered deals without state oversight, according to the Saporta Report. However, the last negotiated contract expired over ten years ago, and a new long-term agreement regarding rate-setting was not put in place. The state legislature stepped in in 2019, and rulings were resolved this year with House Bill 244, putting the power in the hands of the PSC.
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