Kinetic will serve 70% of Colquitt County, Georgia, or over 17,000 homes and businesses with fiber broadband services next year via a $32.5 million public-private partnership.
About 40% of the county, or more than 9,700 homes and businesses, including in county seat Moultrie, are already eligible for Kinetic’s fiber broadband, which provides internet speeds of up to 8 Gbps.
With the new construction, Kinetic plans to connect nearly 7,400 new customers with fiber service.
“We’re thrilled the vast majority of Colquitt County will be able to experience the extraordinary advantages of fiber connectivity,” Kinetic Georgia operations President Michael Foor said.
A partnership approach
One of the key elements to making the Colquitt County project a reality is Kinetic’s partnership with Colquitt Electric Membership Corp. In 2020, Colquitt EMC partnered with Kinetic, a provider already offering traditional phone service and some broadband in its area, to enable the telco to deliver fiber broadband.
At that time, Colquitt EMC had two options to improve its county’s broadband situation: build a fiber network or partner with an area provider already serving its territory.
Moultrie, Berlin, Doerun, Funston and Norman Park are the communities benefiting from the new construction. Parts of Moultrie, Berlin and Doerun already have high-speed fiber service available to eligible homes and businesses.
Kinetic plans to lay more than 440 miles of optical fiber cable as it works through all the communities to bring high-speed internet to customers. It has already laid more than 180 miles of fiber cable.
“Colquitt EMC has been an instrumental part in the delivery of fiber in its service area,” Foor said, adding that “this transformation will open up new opportunities, including enhancing people’s qualities of life and driving economic growth.”
Electric cooperatives have become a new hero for rural areas like Colquitt with few broadband options. According to the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (NRECA), electric cooperatives could bring broadband to 6.3 million households. Moreover, an Institute for Local Self-Reliance report revealed that over 90 electric cooperatives have built FTTH networks.
Diverse funding sources
Kinetic is using a diverse set of funding sources for this project. It will use about $21.4 million in state grant money from the federal government. The money comes from the U.S. Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program, part of the national American Rescue Plan COVID-19 stimulus package.
Kinetic will invest $11.1 million and cover any cost overruns.
The company’s efforts will immediately give residents and businesses a new broadband experience.
In Georgia, the median broadband speed is about 187 Mbps, and the median upload speed is about 26 megabits a second, according to Ookla’s Speedtest.