FORSYTH, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The need for broadband access in rural Monroe county is rising, and a county commissioner sees that.
“Going around and meeting people, I knew that we had a problem,” said Monroe County Commissioner George Emami. “I just heard many, many people complain about not having internet.”
During his campaign for Monroe County Commissioner Emami knew what issue he had to tackle first.
“It’s getting more prolific everyday, there’s new devices that are collecting to it, there’s data,” said Emami. “The divide between the haves and the have nots and what that means for your daily life has become a chasm.”
Emami says the thickest fiber lines run to Atlanta along the interstate. So the further you’re away from those lines, the harder it is to stay connected.
“It’s out here in these outskirts when people really start to feel the pain, some of them don’t have any signal for their phones and either very, very slow internet or no internet,” said Emami.
Emami knows the need, but doesn’t have an exact number of how many people are affected, or where.
“It’s hard for one individual person to really make a difference or to be heard,” said Emami.
That’s why he created the Monroe County Internet Expansion committee. Residents can come forward with their problems and ideas.
“If we focus and we really bring our attention together and organize through government, you can actually get something done, and that’s the goal,” said Emami.
Emami says other commissioners are already on board. They have talked with different internet service providers about a plan. Based on one of the quotes, it would cost the county about $3 million.
If all goes well, getting internet for those rural areas in Monroe County could take 18 to 24 months.
The next committee meeting is February 20th at 11 AM at the Monroe County Commission Chambers. Emami’s goal is to get a survey up and running for Monroe County residents.