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'Real impact on lives' | Gov. Brian Kemp announces high-speed internet access to 80,000 in middle Georgia

The service comes as a result of a new partnership.

ATLANTA — Governor Brian Kemp announced that 80,000 homes and businesses will now have access to high-speed internet in central Georgia.

The announcement came during a Monday afternoon news conference from the North Wing of the Georgia State Capitol.

According to a press release, Central Georgia EMC based in Jackson, Georgia and Southern Rivers Energy based in Barnesville, Georgia will form a new partnership with Conexon - a company that works with rural electric co-ops to help bring fiber to rural communities - to provide the service. 

It's an investment of more than $210 million overall, according to the governor's office, and will cover nearly 20 counties - among them, Bibb, Butts, Clayton, Coweta, Crawford, Fayette, Henry, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Pike, Putnam, Spalding, and Upson.

The service is set to provide two purposes, according to officials. 

First, to provide "improved electric service and increased reliability through smart grid capabilities." It will also provide high-speed internet access to all 80,000 of the two EMCs’ members within the next four years, according to the governor's office. 

The service rollout will begin in June of this year. 

"The announcement we are making today will have a real impact on the lives of countless hardworking Georgians,” Kemp said at the press conference. "With expanded broadband access comes new job opportunities, improved education tools, and access to telemedicine."

Kemp was joined by Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, members of the Public Service Commission, members of the General Assembly, and others.

“As we work together to move all of Georgia forward, our partners across the state understand that access to broadband, high-speed internet, is a fundamental component for continued growth,” Duncan said.