Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Senator Steve Gooch introduced legislation that expected to improve access to high-speed broadband connectivity across communities of rural Georgia The legislation is being coined as Achieving Connectivity Everywhere (ACE) Act.
“ACE will enable every community to modernize their broadband infrastructure and open the door to untapped growth and prosperity for Georgia’s rural citizens,” said Lt. Governor Cagle. “No Georgian should be denied the opportunities for economic development that are afforded by the internet because of where they live. This legislation builds that foundation for growth, enabling our rural communities to access new resources and create new jobs like never before.”
The legislation stems from the recommendations of the Rural Development Council which met last year in various communities throughout rural Georgia. The recommendations inform the Georgia General Assembly to increase adequate access to broadband services in order to increase and attract businesses to struggling areas of rural Georgia.
The ACE Act looks to help increase access to online resources that offer improved services in health care, education, and public safety.
Senate Bill 402, the ACE Act sponsored by Senator Steve Gooch, launches a coordination strategy for local governments, private businesses, and rural communities in the effort to efficiently build out Georgia’s rural broadband infrastructure. If the bill becomes law, Georgia will have a state-wide broadband deployment plan that coordinates all state resources and provides a partnership of public and private leaders to oversee implementation at the local level, catering to each community’s needs.
The bill identifies targeted funding to expand rural broadband services through public and private grant programs. Local communities will be able to secure and invest resources independently for their individual needs.
“Lt. Governor Cagle has made it clear that rural broadband is more than just a legislative priority – it’s a vitally important quality of life issue that touches the lives of real Georgians every day,” added Senator Gooch. “The ACE Act will remove the barriers to affordable, high-speed internet so that rural Georgians can live and work with seamless access to health care, education, and other necessities.”