According to an announcement made Tuesday, Comcast has completed a 12-mile fiber network designed to deliver gigabit speeds to residents and businesses in close proximity to the North Georgia Premium Outlets.
So far, Comcast has completed a fiber backbone in the Ga. 400 area that will provide 10-gigabit internet service to the area’s businesses, as well as 1-gigabit speeds to single family homes at Black Mill Preserve on Red Rider Road and the apartments that are under construction behind the Publix shopping center.
“We are pleased to make this important investment, and appreciate Dawson
County’s partnership to make this possible,” said Doug Guthrie, regional senior vice president at Comcast.
Alex Horwitz, vice president of public relations, said that the 1-gig provided in residential service delivers incredibly fast download speeds.
“When we announced the service in Atlanta a couple of years ago, we had a demo, an open house where people could come and see the service,” Horwitz said. “Using the 1-gig service we downloaded a movie like if you were going on a trip and you wanted to watch it on your iPad. Normally something that would have taken a long time to download; it downloaded in five or six seconds.
“So for all the families who have, let’s say four people in a household, the kids are on the XBOX Live and the parents are on their laptops or iPads, there is a constant crunch of bandwidth. When you bring gigabit technology into the equation, that goes away.”
The telecommunications company is encouraging potential customers to contact them and ask for service at their home or business.
Expansion outside of the 400 corridor will be based on opportunity, according to Shawn Geagan, vice president of business development with Comcast. Geagan is in charge of identifying areas where the company can build out and deliver gigabit speeds to growing areas like Dawson County.
An email address was included in the news release, and Geagan said he encourages residents and business owners in Dawson County that are interested to email Comcast at Comcast_In_Dawsonville@comcast.com for more information and to request service.
on the response of that, we’ll map everything out and figure out where the
greatest opportunity is and look at the business cases to make it work,” Geagan
said. “If I know that I’ve got 60 customers that want our service in an area,
it makes business cases pass a lot easier.”
While phase one of the build out is completed, Geagan said that Comcast is working up Hwy. 53 right now, hoping to branch out to other high-volume areas.
The announcement highlights the catch-22 that local government officials and lawmakers are facing: how to balance preserving the rural character of the county with providing fast, reliable internet services to all citizens in the county.
As both Horwitz and Geagan said, the company goes where growth is, and seeks to put in infrastructure where there is potential for a return on investment. Right now, there isn’t much growth planned outside of the 400 corridor.
“This is the type of technology that people look at and businesses look at before they make a move,” Horwitz said.
State Representative Kevin Tanner, R-Dawsonville, stated in the release that these types of private sector partnerships are the best way to expand and deploy high-speed broadband in Georgia.
“I applaud Comcast’s success in bringing gigabit-powered technology to both densely populated and rural areas of Georgia, helping to bridge the digital divide,” he said. “I look forward to working with Comcast and other companies to further expand their investment in House District 9.”