MT. VERNON, Ga. (WTOC) - A common challenge rural communities across Georgia and the U.S. face is a lack of broadband internet service.
12th District Congressman Rick Allen toured one school district on Wednesday that he says needs more access.
Even with a state-of-the-art school like Montgomery County High, Congressman Allen had questions about the internet access. He also asked students about their access once they leave school.
Local economic developers say it’s a struggle to get high speed internet throughout the community through the private utility companies. Both sides discussed the possibility of electric membership cooperatives, or EMC’s, being a solution and allowing them to use their existing infrastructure.
Allen says they have access to an FCC tax called the Universal Service Fund that utilities charge to customers and pay to the government.
“If we have to increase the universal fund, I believe you pay as you go,” the congressman said. “Let’s increase it to get broadband service. You’ll see an economic awakening in rural America.”
He feels that access to broadband would help communities like this one attract more business and industry, and give more job opportunities to the next generation.
Congressman Allen says he hopes Congress can help push this forward for rural Georgia and rural America.