With Carroll County being mostly rural and several miles between homes, it has been cost-prohibitive for broadband companies to invest in the area. Many times, the younger citizens faced hardship in doing remote schoolwork during the pandemic. County employees, private business employees, and parents had connectivity issues and had difficulty in doing their jobs.
“We wanted our citizens to know the Board of Commissioners and Community Development staff heard their needs, and we were working on solutions to bring broadband to our county,” said Ashley Hulsey, Communications Director for the Carroll County Board of Commissioners (BOC).
First, the county moved to amend its Comprehensive Plan to add a broadband element which involved holding public hearings for input. Second, the Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of the broadband element change to which the BOC approved. The amended plan was then submitted to the Three Rivers Regional Commission who transmitted it to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA). As a result, the BOC adopted a broadband ordinance to correspond with changes to the Comprehensive Plan.
With this, Carroll County applied for the broadband designation and is now recognized as a Broadband Ready county whose local government has completed the application and demonstrated compliance with the adoption of a local comprehensive plan inclusive of the deployment of broadband services and a Broadband Model Ordinance. Along with Paulding, Haralson, and Troup County, Carroll also wished to show local and regional support for a grant with Carroll EMC and SyncGlobal.
“While Facebook is a great tool to stay connected to family and friends, our senior citizens could not see their grandchildren virtually because of the lack of broadband,” Hulsey adds. However, with the designation, elderly citizens can now benefit as they will be able to order groceries and other supplies to be picked up or delivered during the pandemic, keeping them safe while socially distanced.
In addition to the several benefits that becoming a Broadband Ready Community will bring, Hulsey emphasized that the quality of life for all citizens will be improved.