Rural Georgia broadband projects get $13M

ATLANTA (WTOC) - Gov. Sonny Perdue announced Wednesday that three new Georgia broadband projects, to provide high-speed Internet service to homes and businesses in rural areas, will receive almost $13 million in federal funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Windstream Corp. received two of the three awards. The first award is $6.9 million and will be matched with an additional $2.3 million in outside funds, according to a news release.

Windstream plans to expand its broadband network to 29,000 people, 750 businesses and 50 other community institutions in north Georgia, including Baldwin, Blairsville, Clarkesville, Cleveland, Cornelia, Dahlonega, Dawsonville, Helen, Hiawassee, Ivylog, Juno, Macedonia, Mineral Bluff, Morganton, Notla Township, Suches, Tallulah Falls, Three Sisters Mountains, Tiger, Toccoa, Turnerville and Young Harris.

A second award of $5.1 million will be matched with $1.7 million from Windstream to bring broadband services to 44,000 people, 2,000 businesses and 120 community institutions in these areas: Alapaha, Ashburn, Berlin, Canton, Coolidge, Dalton, Ellaville, Funston, Irwinville, Jasper, Lyerly, Manchester, McRae, Menlo, Milledgeville, Montezuma, Morven, Norman Park, Pavo, Toccoa, Trion, Unadilla and Woodland.

Blue Ridge Telephone Co. gets $853,768 to provide broadband to its service area around Blue Ridge, benefiting 1,000 people and 16 businesses.  The company is matching the award with $284,590.

Perdue started working to bring broadband to rural areas in Georgia in 2006 when the General Assembly, at his request, appropriated funds to expand wireless broadband access, the news release said.

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