The biggest hot-button issue in rural Georgia and one that local constituents say is the most complained about aspect of life in Dawson County is internet access and speed.
With few providers and little competition in the marketplace, Dawson County has faced the same plight as most of rural America, with slow speeds and limited access to internet options, for years.
At an Oct. 12 Dawson County Chamber of Commerce luncheon, an announcement was made that had the entire room erupt with applause.
Comcast is coming.
The announcement was not a huge surprise, as many residents have seen Comcast construction trucks on the Ga. 400 corridor for a few months now, where the initial launch of the service provider is concentrated. But it is a welcome sight.
According to Darren Carter, who represents Comcast in business sales, the company is focused on just the businesses near the North Georgia Premium Outlets for now, but with plans for county-wide expansion.
In the next six months, Carter said, an estimated 1,000 homes could have access to Comcast internet and phone services.
The infrastructure being put in is a hybrid of fiber and coaxial cable. The backbone will be fiber, and coax will be run to buildings, Carter said.
“We will be able to deliver a fiber download speed through coax, up to 1 Gig,” Carter said.
Though plans aren’t released yet, residents will soon be able to know when Comcast is coming to their area.
“The littler the trucks, the sooner it's coming,” Carter said.
Carter said businesses are definitely the main focus right now, and that by the end of the year all of the businesses in the initial construction path should have access to Comcast services.
If businesses are unsure if they are in the initial construction path, they can contact Carter at (770) 375-1596 to get put on the construction path now, before the infrastructure is put in.
Services for businesses include traditional analog phone, high-speed internet, TV services and surveillance cameras.
“I feel like I’m saving people’s businesses,” said Larry Duvall, also with Comcast. “We go where the demand is. Our budget just for metro Atlanta for 2017 was $100 million.”
Chamber President Christie Haynes said that she is excited to see Comcast coming to the area.
“The greatest impediment to business in rural Georgia communities like ours is the lack of access to reliable high speed internet,” Haynes said. “We are glad to welcome an additional service provider to our area. We are proud to have Comcast join our existing members in working to meet the needs of our business community.”“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been hugged,” Carter said.