A new partnership between an electric membership cooperative (EMC) in Taylor County and a major internet service provider will deliver broadband service to 31,000 customers across a swath of Middle Georgia.
Flint Energies and Kansas City-based Conexon Connect will launch a 3,000-mile fiber network to homes and businesses in Crawford, Macon, Marion, Muscogee, Peach, Schley, Talbot, Taylor and south Houston counties.
The $90 million project is being funded through a federal American Rescue Plan grant of $25 million, $7.5 million from a fund overseen by the Federal Communications Commission and substantial investments by Flint Energies and Connect.
“Today is another milestone in the ongoing effort to bring broadband to unserved and underserved customers in rural Georgia,” Gov. Brian Kemp said.
The project is the latest in a series of broadband initiatives across Georgia since the General Assembly passed legislation in 2019 allowing EMCs to get into the broadband business.
Including Flint Energies, 20 EMCs in Georgia are currently providing high-speed internet or partnering with a provider to expand broadband service in rural communities across the state.
Collectively, these projects represent an investment of $770 million serving more than 282,000 Georgians in 89 counties.
Flint Energies CEO Jeremy Nelms said the project will serve two goals.
“The system will deliver immediate benefits such as improved power outage response times, better load balancing, and more efficient power delivery,” Nelms said.
“Of equal importance, the fiber system provides an opportunity to help meet the critical need of high-speed broadband for rural Flint members who have been waiting for adequate service.”