The Gateway Corridor Overlay District in Lumpkin County will be the first to receive a Broadband Ready Community Site designation. The designation comes after Lumpkin County’s initial Broadband Ready Community certification in August of 2020.
After providing documentation to the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), Lumpkin County will be recognized for its completion of the application and compliance by adopting a local comprehensive plan inclusive of broadband services deployment and a Broadband Model Ordinance.
“The broadband ready community and broadband site designations demonstrate the commitment of Lumpkin County Government to reduce obstacles to broadband infrastructure investment and better position the county to respond to funding opportunities and public-private partnerships,” said Rebecca Mincey, Executive Director of the Lumpkin County Development Authority.
The Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners (BOC) anticipates the Gateway Corridor Overlay District will generate additional economic investments and job development in the commercial, mixed-use, and healthcare sectors. As a dedicated space for growth, the site adds to the county’s goal of reducing obstacles to broadband infrastructure investment, which will aid the community’s positioning for future funding and public-private partnerships.
“The Board of Commissioners created the Gateway Corridor Overlay District as a target area for economic development in Lumpkin County,” stated Lumpkin County Board of Commissioner Chairman Chris Dockery. “The broadband site designation for the overlay district will allow Lumpkin County staff to have another marketing tool for the district when speaking with property owners, developers, and prospects interested in investing in Lumpkin County.”
With 25% of Lumpkin County considered unserved by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), such locations did not have internet service above 25 Mbps downloads and 3 Mbps uploads. In addition to the pandemic, the digital divide was exposed and the importance of universally available broadband coverage for residents was underscored. Individuals faced the hardships associated with the lack of reliable internet when telecommuting, video conferencing with healthcare professionals, participating in online education, and trying to remain connected to others.
Lumpkin County expects broadband benefits to create a happier, healthier, and more resilient community, and the BOC encourages other communities to apply for the site designation. The benefits of developing a roadmap extend far beyond creating a plan, it also helps identify new opportunities for partnership and collaborations. With such opportunities, additional businesses, programs, and economic growth can be propelled.