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West Georgia Broadband Study
SERDI 2017 Report
WGB Study Purpose
The purpose of the broadband study was to:
1. Perform a feasibility analysis to determine the
need for broadband services within the study area
• Heard, Meriwether, Troup, and Upson Counties
• Area identified as “West Georgia Broadband”
(WGB)
2. Identify a strategy and timeline to move forward
3. Perform an engineering analysis to recommend a
network buildout
4. Provide technical assistance for broadband
infrastructure grants
WGB Broadband Study Stakeholders
• Sector participation by
stakeholders was equitable
• Rural stakeholders identified the
lack of broadband as critical to
their sector
• Demand was highest amongst
healthcare, agriculture, and
business stakeholders
• Broadband providers attended the
stakeholder meetings
4
The study supported improved services for the following
sectors:
• Healthcare
• Telehealth
• Electronic medical based services and records
• Agribusiness
• Wireless coverage would improve crop and resource
management practices
• Crop production could be improved with remote
management access
• Economic development and agriculture growth would be
encouraged
• Business
• Increase the competitiveness of the area’s small and
medium sized businesses
• Increased economic development opportunities in the area
WCGB Broadband Study Findings
5
WGB Broadband Model - Assumptions
Public-Private Partnership Model
 50 miles of fiber connections to unserved/underserved areas
 Establish a Joint Development Authority for broadband
 $1.2 million dollar project
$1 million DCA Equity Grant funding
$200K in matching funds
RFP “Last Mile” for service providers for local service
Service Adoption Assumptions:
 Community Anchor Institutions adoption rate in 10 years
 Hospitals 100% 4 HOSPITALS
 Government 25% 37 AGENCIES
 Business (incl. agribusiness) 15% 1070 SITES
 NOTE: Education is currently served, except 2 in Heard County
 Residential adoption
 Residents 5%
6
WGB Broadband Model - Structure
WGB-JDA
Diverse Power,
Inc.
Last Mile
Provider
Public-Private Partnerships (P3’s) maximize resources in rural areas
to promote the expansion of broadband services and economic
development.
7
WGB Broadband Project Area
Rural Broadband Barriers
Local Level
• Large internet carriers cited a lack of interest
in expanding service coverage because the
unserved and underserved areas were too
lightly populated
State Level
• No reliable source of funding to expand
broadband infrastructure into unserved or
underserved areas
Federal Level
• Existing broadband providers could apply for
rural broadband funds within an area, and
prevent other entities from obtaining funds to
make infrastructure improvements
Rural Broadband Barriers Cont’d
Windstream Corporation
• 2 approved USDA funding applications in
Meriwether County
• 1 approved USDA funding application in
Upson County
Issue
• 50% of the service area became ineligible for
USDA broadband grants/loans
Potential Solution
• Utilize the One Georgia Equity Grant,
infrastructure, to initiate a P3 broadband
project.
Pace of Progress
Federal Level
• Expand laws and regulations to promote rural
broadband development
• Eliminate loopholes that lock out public-
private partnerships
• Allow competition in areas where the existing
carrier is not providing minimum broadband
speeds
Trending Issues
• High speed broadband access is an economic
development issue
• Slow broadband speeds make commercial and
residential properties less desirable
Broadband Creates Jobs in Rural Areas
Georgia Rural Broadband Conclusions
Served vs Unserved Areas
• The current definition of broadband means that an
area has access to a 25 megabit connection
• Businesses with access to slower speeds may be
less competitive, and not locate to a rural area
• Citizens without access to online learning / job
training platforms may have fewer employment
opportunities
State Role
• Georgia should consider incentives to encourage more
rural broadband development
• Infrastructure grants should clearly define broadband
as an eligible purpose
• Public-Private Partnerships (P3’s) should be
encouraged for unserved or underserved areas
Georgia Rural Broadband Conclusions Cont’d
Georgia Broadband Study Committee
• Conducted statewide hearings in 2016
• Produced a Georgia Broadband Study Report
• Legislation was introduced during the 2017 legislative
session, but no bill was passed
• Momentum continues to build as rural Georgia is left
further and further behind
Contact Information
Robert Hiett, Deputy Executive Director
Email: rhiett@threeriversrc.com
Phone: 678-692-0510
Jeannie Brantley, Planning Director
Email: jbrantley@threeriversrc.com
Phone: 678-692-0510

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Three Rivers Rural Broadband Report

  • 1. West Georgia Broadband Study SERDI 2017 Report
  • 2. WGB Study Purpose The purpose of the broadband study was to: 1. Perform a feasibility analysis to determine the need for broadband services within the study area • Heard, Meriwether, Troup, and Upson Counties • Area identified as “West Georgia Broadband” (WGB) 2. Identify a strategy and timeline to move forward 3. Perform an engineering analysis to recommend a network buildout 4. Provide technical assistance for broadband infrastructure grants
  • 3. WGB Broadband Study Stakeholders • Sector participation by stakeholders was equitable • Rural stakeholders identified the lack of broadband as critical to their sector • Demand was highest amongst healthcare, agriculture, and business stakeholders • Broadband providers attended the stakeholder meetings
  • 4. 4 The study supported improved services for the following sectors: • Healthcare • Telehealth • Electronic medical based services and records • Agribusiness • Wireless coverage would improve crop and resource management practices • Crop production could be improved with remote management access • Economic development and agriculture growth would be encouraged • Business • Increase the competitiveness of the area’s small and medium sized businesses • Increased economic development opportunities in the area WCGB Broadband Study Findings
  • 5. 5 WGB Broadband Model - Assumptions Public-Private Partnership Model  50 miles of fiber connections to unserved/underserved areas  Establish a Joint Development Authority for broadband  $1.2 million dollar project $1 million DCA Equity Grant funding $200K in matching funds RFP “Last Mile” for service providers for local service Service Adoption Assumptions:  Community Anchor Institutions adoption rate in 10 years  Hospitals 100% 4 HOSPITALS  Government 25% 37 AGENCIES  Business (incl. agribusiness) 15% 1070 SITES  NOTE: Education is currently served, except 2 in Heard County  Residential adoption  Residents 5%
  • 6. 6 WGB Broadband Model - Structure WGB-JDA Diverse Power, Inc. Last Mile Provider Public-Private Partnerships (P3’s) maximize resources in rural areas to promote the expansion of broadband services and economic development.
  • 8. Rural Broadband Barriers Local Level • Large internet carriers cited a lack of interest in expanding service coverage because the unserved and underserved areas were too lightly populated State Level • No reliable source of funding to expand broadband infrastructure into unserved or underserved areas Federal Level • Existing broadband providers could apply for rural broadband funds within an area, and prevent other entities from obtaining funds to make infrastructure improvements
  • 9. Rural Broadband Barriers Cont’d Windstream Corporation • 2 approved USDA funding applications in Meriwether County • 1 approved USDA funding application in Upson County Issue • 50% of the service area became ineligible for USDA broadband grants/loans Potential Solution • Utilize the One Georgia Equity Grant, infrastructure, to initiate a P3 broadband project.
  • 10. Pace of Progress Federal Level • Expand laws and regulations to promote rural broadband development • Eliminate loopholes that lock out public- private partnerships • Allow competition in areas where the existing carrier is not providing minimum broadband speeds Trending Issues • High speed broadband access is an economic development issue • Slow broadband speeds make commercial and residential properties less desirable
  • 11. Broadband Creates Jobs in Rural Areas
  • 12. Georgia Rural Broadband Conclusions Served vs Unserved Areas • The current definition of broadband means that an area has access to a 25 megabit connection • Businesses with access to slower speeds may be less competitive, and not locate to a rural area • Citizens without access to online learning / job training platforms may have fewer employment opportunities State Role • Georgia should consider incentives to encourage more rural broadband development • Infrastructure grants should clearly define broadband as an eligible purpose • Public-Private Partnerships (P3’s) should be encouraged for unserved or underserved areas
  • 13. Georgia Rural Broadband Conclusions Cont’d Georgia Broadband Study Committee • Conducted statewide hearings in 2016 • Produced a Georgia Broadband Study Report • Legislation was introduced during the 2017 legislative session, but no bill was passed • Momentum continues to build as rural Georgia is left further and further behind
  • 14. Contact Information Robert Hiett, Deputy Executive Director Email: rhiett@threeriversrc.com Phone: 678-692-0510 Jeannie Brantley, Planning Director Email: jbrantley@threeriversrc.com Phone: 678-692-0510