Kinetic has established a $10.3 million public-private partnership with Chattooga County, Georgia, that will bring fiber-based broadband to 3,400 homes that could only get lower-speed services.
The project will provide fiber internet to eligible homes and businesses in the county, including Summerville, Trion, Lyerly and Menlo. Under the terms of the partnership, the county will use about $3.1 million in state grant money from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program, part of the federal American Rescue Plan.
Kinetic will invest $7.2 million and cover any cost overruns. Set to be completed next year, Kinetic will lay 320 miles of fiber cable to bring high-speed internet to residences, businesses and schools.
Kinetic’s service offers 1 Gbps symmetrical speeds. This is a significant step forward in a state where consumers and businesses had to contend with asymmetrical speeds of 178/24 Mbps, according to Ookla’s Speedtest.
Enabling new education, job opportunities
State leaders applauded the provider’s efforts. State Sen. Colton Moore, R-Trenton, said at a town hall that better broadband will enable new education and employment opportunities.
“High-speed internet is a key part of our plan to build a better Georgia and a better Chattooga County,” Moore said. “It allows Georgians to stay connected with school, healthcare services and family, and is critical to the success of our state’s economy and future job creation.”
State Rep. Eddie Lumsden, R-Rome, added, “The challenge of providing access in the rural parts of our state is genuine.”
“This partnership signals the start of new possibilities for Chattooga County,” he said. “Technology is ever evolving, and this county deserves broadband that will handle current and future demands.”
Leveraging state, federal funding
Kinetic’s Chattooga County fiber project is part of a $2 billion, multi-year capital investment strategy to expand gigabit fiber service across Windstream's 18-state footprint.
This figure doesn’t include the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) awards Kinetic won in all 18 of the states it covers, which came out to $520 million in funding to build out to 190,000 locations.
Georgia has been a big focus for Kinetic. The telco secured Georgia grants in previous funding rounds, including $34.9 million this year and plans to build 95,000 new fiber locations in the state before 2024.
In June, the State of Georgia awarded $8.5 million to Kinetic by Windstream to deploy fiber broadband infrastructure in three Georgia counties. The grants were the second Kinetic has received this year from the state’s Capital Projects Fund Grant Program, using money awarded via the American Rescue Plan Act.
In 2022, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced the formation of the Capital Projects Fund Grant Program. The program issued its first round of grants this past January, with Kinetic receiving $35 million to bring fiber to more than 4,500 homes and businesses in Clay, Clinch, Randolph, and Schley counties. Before the program's formation in 2021, the state also released $171 million in grants from the American Rescue Plan Act to 18 counties working in partnership with Kinetic to bring fiber to their communities.