$500K broadband expansion project announced for Seminole Co.

The funding will go toward broadband internet expansion.
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 8:57 PM EST
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DONALSONVILLE, Ga. (WALB) - Broadband infrastructure will provide 1,200 homes with high-speed Internet in Seminole County soon.

It’s a part of a multi-phase effort for broadband expansion in the county. The project was set back multiple times by Hurricane Michael and the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Representative Sanford Bishop toured southwest Georgia towns on Friday, announcing the funding he secured for issues towns face.

“I was happy that I was in a position to earmark this money for the city of Donalsonville,” Rep. Bishop said.

Congressman Bishop poses in front of the big check.
Congressman Bishop poses in front of the big check.(WALB)

eDonalsonville was a project initiated by the city in 2015. The goal was to bring broadband infrastructure to Seminole County. Bishop says this money will make Donalsonville more attractive for businesses to stay and for outside businesses to invest.

“There are many amenities here that are suitable to a high quality of life. There are few things that we need to do to enhance and make it attractive and the internet is certainly one of the main ingredients,” Bishop said.

Donalsonville is expanding its internet wirelessly. That saved them millions of dollars. They’ve used existing infrastructure to make it more cost-effective. These have included water towers and silos. Jeffrey Hatcher is the city’s communication director. He said these cost-efficient methods helped them secure the $560,000 project.

The city has used water towers to attach the LTE connectors to.
The city has used water towers to attach the LTE connectors to.(WALB)

“All you have to do is set up a tower and boom. In this case, I can cover all of Donalsonville in one setup,” Hatcher said.

Joy Chestnut has seen improvements at her home in Donalsonville with recent broadband projects but hopes the improvements make it to her downtown store, the Front Porch Market.

“Right now, it takes us an hour to order something online. I’d like it to take more like 15 minutes,” Chestnut said.

The project upgrades existing connectivity to the internet, and it also expands its reach.

That was exciting news to Donald Moore. He was a city commissioner, now he’s a pastor in a very rural area south of Donalsonville. Right now, it’s hard to communicate with his congregation.

“Not having that it makes everything terrible. In the rural areas outside the city limits, your GPS, your Google, they weren’t working,” Moore said.

The project will also allow telehealth and remote education and research. In 2020, many kids and students had to drive into town for remote education.