ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Dougherty County Commissioners just passed an ordinance to make the county a “broadband ready community.” Widespread access to high-speed internet impacts the whole county and it increases access to healthcare and education.
Some people without high-speed internet faced issues when the pandemic hit.
Phoebe Putney Health System had to ramp up its use of telehealth at the beginning of the pandemic.
Dougherty County School System faced connection issues early on when in-person learning switched to virtual.
County Administrator Michael McCoy told WALB News 10 that high-speed internet access is growing in importance.
“Online services have become essential to business, healthcare and education. And this is especially true during this Coronavirus pandemic,” he said.
Commissioners voted to pass the ordinance Monday. It’s one of the required steps for the county to receive funding under the Georgia Broadband Deployment Initiative.
“The state has made funding available to increase broadband access in rural areas. Which will give us access to funding to partner with a private or public service to increase access to high-speed internet in Dougherty County,” he said.
The initiative’s website maps served and unserved areas of the state. Served areas are dark orange and mean more than 80% of locations in a census block have access to broadband internet. There is a clear deficit.
“There are parts of Dougherty County where high-speed internet is not available. And we want to do everything we can in our community to give the citizens of Dougherty County access to high-speed internet,” McCoy said.