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Senator wants to improve Internet access
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ATLANTA -- Sen. Steve Gooch (R - Dahlonega) has filed legislation to create the Joint High-Speed Broadband Communications Access for All Georgians Study Committee.

If approved by the Georgia General Assembly, Senate Resolution 876 will meet several times throughout the summer and fall of 2016 to discuss common obstacles for high-speed broadband internet, particularly in the state's rural communities.

"Georgia is known as a top state for business, but we need to take a closer look at communities with sluggish economic growth if we want to remain economically competitive. Many of these communities have two things in common: a rural location and lack of adequate high-speed broadband internet. Expanding access would remove barriers for both economic and educational growth in rural areas throughout Georgia," Gooch said.

The joint study committee will be tasked with examining the conditions, needs, issues and problems of high-speed broadband internet access. Economic development, education and health care are areas commonly impacted by reduced access to broadband communications, and professionals from these areas will be asked to share information about specific barriers and concerns. The joint study committee is responsible for submitting a report of findings and recommendations, including proposed legislation, by Dec. 1.

The joint study committee will be made up of five members of the Georgia House of Representatives, as appointed by the Speaker of the House; and five members of the Georgia Senate, as appointed by the President of the Senate. The Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate will also each select one member to serve as co-chairpersons.

The legislation has been assigned to the Senate Economic Development Committee and is currently awaiting review.

Gooch serves as Majority Whip of the Senate Majority Caucus. He represents the 51st Senate District which includes Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Union and White counties and portions of Forsyth and Pickens counties.