Governor Brian P. Kemp today applauded the news of Jackson Electric Membership Corp. and TruVista announcing an agreement to deliver fiber broadband to 8,000 homes and businesses in three counties in Jackson EMC’s service area: Jackson, Banks, and Madison. The collaboration means TruVista will install hundreds of miles of fiber-optic cable in Jackson EMC’s service area.
“This announcement is the latest in a long line of successful partnerships between EMCs across Georgia and private providers to increase internet access for our rural communities,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “When I signed Senate Bill 2 in 2019, it opened the door for partnerships like this to provide broadband service. Now, 19 projects involving EMCs have led to 244,000 Georgians receiving broadband access, opening doors for all to pursue new economic, educational, and social opportunities.”
TruVista plans to begin offering broadband service to unserved and underserved Jackson EMC members and expects construction to be complete by the end of 2023. Broadband service will initially be available to Jackson EMC members in Jackson County as part of Truvista’s commitment to the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund requirements, followed by Banks and Madison counties. Once service becomes available, TruVista will manage accounts, customer service, and support requests.
“TruVista looks for every opportunity to bring best–in-class broadband services to rural households and businesses in and around its Georgia and South Carolina footprint,” said Carla French, president and CEO of TruVista. “This partnership between TruVista and Jackson EMC will enable underserved residents of Jackson, Banks, and Madison counties to receive fast, reliable, and always on internet services in a much shorter time frame than would have been anticipated without this agreement.”
“Access to broadband service is one of the top issues in our community. Whether it is students doing their classwork online or small businesses connecting to their customers around the world, broadband access for everyone is an important issue for us to tackle,” said Chip Jakins, president and CEO of Jackson EMC. “Electric cooperatives, like Jackson EMC, are uniquely positioned to partner with broadband providers to provide reliable internet access to rural areas in Georgia. By welcoming TruVista to our service area, Jackson EMC is part of the solution to bring broadband to unserved homes and businesses in our community.”
“I applaud the significant investment that TruVista and Jackson EMC are making in their community,” said Public Service Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald. “This project is a great example of two separate companies working together to develop innovative solutions to ensure rural Georgians will have access to quality broadband service that their neighbors in nearby counties enjoy. This partnership is proof that recent efforts are making way for progress.”
“As a former engineer with Jackson EMC, it is an honor to congratulate today’s partnership that opens the doors for job creation in Jackson, Madison, and Banks counties,” said State Senator Frank Ginn. “It is absolutely essential for businesses to have access to high-speed internet in order to participate in today’s economy. I’m thankful to TruVista and Jackson EMC for making the commitment to provide this critical service so these communities can thrive, not just survive. This is truly bringing power to the people!”
“As the chief sponsor of Senate Bill 2, it is rewarding to see forward progress after years of hard work by private citizens, community leaders, lawmakers, and many others who love this great state,” said State Senator Steve Gooch. “I am thankful to Jackson EMC, TruVista, and the many other organizations who’ve partnered to make announcements over the past two and half years. These companies are putting people first, and our entire state will benefit from their leadership.”
“Congratulations to Jackson EMC and TruVista on today’s announcement,” said State Representative Chris Erwin. “Broadband access is crucial to families and businesses in these three counties and after long searching for an answer, this project will ensure that our students, school systems, small businesses, and entire communities can prosper, no matter their location.”
The agreement between Jackson EMC and TruVista is made possible by Senate Bill 2, passed in 2019, which allows electric membership cooperatives (EMCs) including Jackson EMC to provide broadband services or leverage EMC infrastructure in other ways to aid deployment of broadband. TruVista is also taking advantage of the recent “One Buck Deal,” a decision made by the Georgia Public Service Commission requiring EMCs to give qualified broadband providers access to their utility poles for new attachments in unserved areas for $1 per pole per year. The rate is available to broadband providers for six years—an unprecedented incentive to promote high-speed internet expansion in areas that need broadband the most.
Including Jackson EMC, 19 EMCs in Georgia are currently providing high-speed internet or partnering with a provider to expand broadband service in rural communities across the state.
About Jackson Electric Membership Corporation
Jackson Electric Membership Corporation, the largest electric cooperative in Georgia and one of the largest in the nation, is headquartered 50 miles northeast of Atlanta in Jefferson, GA. The cooperative serves more than 245,000 meters on 14,000 miles of energized wire. For more information, visit jacksonemc.com.
Headquartered in Chester, SC, TruVista is a 125+ year old leading provider of Broadband services and associated applications in the Midlands Region of South Carolina and northern Georgia. TruVista offers residential customers broadband services up to a gig symmetrical and multi Gig services for business customers. Additionally, the company provides applications such as hosted voice, Internet Protocol Television (“IPTV”) and security services. TruVista’s commitment to innovation, investment in technology and utilization of its talented people is resulting in continuous expansion of its footprint and growth of its broadband customer base. Throughout this growth, TruVista remains committed to being involved locally and building relationships throughout its markets; believing success is best measured by the progress of the communities served. Further information is available at: www.truvista.net.