Secretary of Agriculture and former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue announced last week a $4 million investment to bring high-speed broadband Internet service to Eastern Evans County, Georgia.
This effort is being jointly funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Pembroke Advanced Communication (PAC).
This area of Evans County, located east of Highway 301, is vastly underserved by broadband services. “Prior to our investment, the most people living in this area could expect from their Internet were speeds insufficient for most of today’s needs” said John D. Browning III, general manager of PAC. “Broadband can no longer be seen as an amenity. You can’t effectively download or stream anything, you can’t do remote learning and you can’t do things as simple as remotely communicating with your kids. With the speeds we are bringing to this area you will not only be able to do these things, but also take advantage of new technologies such as telemedicine, precision agriculture and environmental monitoring.”
Some 1,000 households will be able to connect to a high-speed, all fiber optic network that will enable households and businesses in the area to receive broadband speeds from 100 Mbps to 1 GB. Currently residents in the area receive Internet speeds of 10 Mbps or less.
To initiate this project, PAC privately invested $500,000 to extend its fiber optic network ring from Pembroke to Daisy, GA on the eastern edge of Evans County. “When we looked at serving eastern Evans County, we had a strong idea they were underserved by high-speed Internet. We researched the area, we had our employees walk the roads, and meet with the people and business leaders who live and work there,” says Browning. “We kept hearing the same thing – we need faster speeds to do the things that will enhance our businesses and enable us to be competitive.”
Though the build out of the network in eastern Evans County will take about two years to complete, PAC is already able to serve households along Highway 280 east of and into downtown Daisy. “Under the ReConnect program, our build-out area will be most of Evans County east of Highway 301 and west of the Evans/Bryan County border.” said Noah Covington, director of operations for PAC.
PAC completed a fiber optic network in North Bryan County in 2014, providing all area households and businesses with Internet capabilities of up to 1GB service making North Bryan County a competitive destination for businesses. Businesses that have made an investment in this area include Daniel Defense, Orafol, AGCO and West Penn Testing Group.