High speed internet for all, coming to Sylvester

Updated: Mar. 16, 2021 at 10:10 AM EDT
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SYLVESTER, Ga. (WALB) - Everyone in Sylvester could have access to high-speed internet by the end of this year, a real boon for the rural community.

City Manager Autron Hayes said fiber-optic high-speed internet has been in Sylvester for years. But, it wasn’t widely available to the public. Soon, residents and businesses will have access.

“We already provide it to the schools and a few businesses. We’re just going to make it available to homes and commercial businesses,” said Hayes.

Autron Hayes
Autron Hayes(source: WALB)

Phoebe Worth Medical Center, and some banks are on the list of businesses that already have access. The process to build the infrastructure for everyone could be complete by the end of the year.

“First we have to go through a design phase, then after the design phase, we have to get ready to solicit bids from construction. Then, once we select a construction company, we’ll go ahead and start building out the system,” he said.

Hayes also said the City has received citizen feedback that they want more options for internet service. Karen Rackley with the Sylvester Worth County Chamber of Commerce said the pandemic also illuminated existing issues with the internet.

“Covid-19 showed the lack of broadband hurt schools, students everywhere, well the City stepped up, they took all measures they found a way, and they’re going to have broadband to every home and business in the city limits,” said Rackley.

The CDC also reports that many rural communities don’t have “widespread use of telemedicine” during the pandemic, due to unreliable internet.

Karen Rackley, Sylvester Chamber Pres.
Karen Rackley, Sylvester Chamber Pres.(WALB)

Rackley said high-speed service is necessary for businesses to function at their best.

“You know if you look at all the people who are on it now, the banks; they can’t do their business without it. Because they use such a load of uploading. You’ve got to have it,” she said.

Rackley said the City is also going to extend high-speed internet outside of city limits, if possible.

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