Madison County commission chairman Todd Higdon said he met Monday with a company from Carrollton to discuss a feasibility study for installing broadband internet access for Madison County citizens.

“That is the very first step for seeking broadband,” he said, adding that the cost of a feasibility study will run between $20,000 and $35,000.

Higdon said Georgia Public Web, a regional telecommunications carrier, already has a hub in Madison County to tie back to Atlanta.

“So that’s a plus in our benefit,” he said.

The chairman said a three-phase plan is probably the best approach for installing broadband in Madison County, starting with the feasibility study. He estimated the cost for the whole project could be in the $8-to-$9 million range, but he said there is no set figure yet. Madison County will get over $5.7 million in federal stimulus money, but more help may be available.

“We don’t have an exact dollar figure,” he said. “And until we get a feasibility study, we will not know. Before we go for any grants, any matching money, that study has to be done.”

Higdon asked board members “to think about it and get back to me it you’d like to proceed on the feasibility study for broadband.” He said the broadband would be fiber, not copper.

“It will be fiber to every home,” he said.

The chairman said the county could install the system in phases, which would start generating money for the next phase.

Higdon said more money could be on the way from the state for broadband.

“Not only would the citizens of the county benefit greatly, but out children would, too,” he said. “That’s why this is of utmost importance to myself and our community members.”

The board did not discuss the matter after Higdon’s comments and there were no votes on the matter. But more discussion is likely at the upcoming April 19 BOC meeting.

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(1) comment

John Graves

Yes please on the rural broadband! We DESPERATELY need this! I have been working for many years trying to get Charter Spectrum to extend their lines with zero success. They extended them to the new Neese fire hall but refuse to go any further, even when I rounded up at least a dozen customers who would sign up with a business account. If we can get fast reliable wired broadband internet, you would get many paying business accounts in the area of Neese Commerce and Nowhere Road. Please make it happen! Thanks, John Graves

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