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North Georgia Receives Faster Internet Connections

August 30, 2012
Kids in the computer lab classroom.

The high speed broadband project bringing over 1000 miles of fiber-optic connections to the North Georgia mountains is not yet complete, but has already brought internet speeds 20 to 50 times faster than before to the local area schools and businesses.

The $42 million North Georgia Network project began in 2009 as a joint effort by economic development leaders in Dawson, Forsyth, Lumpkin, Union, and White Counties, as well as scholars from North Georgia College & State University, Blue Ridge Mountain EMC, and Habersham EMC to bring faster internet connections to the local communities. The core of the broadband effort is finished, but work on completing connections to businesses, schools and other users in the area is still ongoing and should be completed by the end of the year.

One school in Lumpkin County has experienced more internet bandwidth than the entire district put together did just one year ago due to the new connections. White County Schools’ pipeline to the internet has increased 50 times, allowing teachers to incorporate previously hard-to-download videos and videoconferencing into their lesson plans. And the district’s 400 iPads can all now stream video simultaneously.

Economic development officials say the network will also bolster existing businesses and attract new high-tech companies to the region.

“Over the past decades we’ve seen technology influence where businesses locate,” said North Georgia Network President Bruce Abraham. “To offer a good quality of life, companies want to be able to place their businesses in areas away from the high-traffic and high-cost of living that defines Atlanta. By creating the North Georgia Network we’ve put into place the infrastructure to attract top companies to North Georgia.”

Vice President Joe Biden came to Georgia in late 2009 to announce the federal funding for the project. A $33 million federal stimulus grant is paying for most of the project, with local funds covering the remaining $9 million.

For more information, visit GPB’s N Ga. Broadband Connects Schools, Businesses