Coastal Fiber, Inc. will deliver broadband to 16,000 members
in three counties
Efforts to provide needed broadband service to Georgians took a step forward as PSC Commissioner Tim Echols and representatives from Coastal Electric Cooperative and Darien Communications made an announcement on Colonels Island today. Officials announced the formation of a new broadband provider in Southeast Georgia, Coastal Fiber, Inc., which will offer high-speed internet service to 16,000 homes and businesses in Liberty, Bryan, and Long counties.
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2022 Annual Meeting: Coastal Fiber Update
Coastal Electric Cooperative, Darien Communications to expand broadband in Southeast Georgia
This project will include a capital investment of nearly $40 million by Coastal Electric and partner Darien Communications to build a fiber network that will be leased to the cooperative’s broadband affiliate, Coastal Fiber, Inc., to provide retail broadband service. The project will begin immediately with plans to complete phase one in four years, with the first customers connected as early as 2022.
Governor Brian Kemp
“I am thankful to Coastal Electric Cooperative for stepping up to help hard-working Georgians gain access to new job opportunities, improved education tools, access to telemedicine, and more,” said Governor Kemp. “This project will allow many south Georgians to have access to reliable, high-speed internet – which is a fundamental part of continued growth. This partnership is another reason I signed Senate Bill 2 in 2019, which authorized EMCs to provide broadband service. I continue to be encouraged by SB 2, as it is doing exactly what it was intended to do: encourage EMCs and community leaders to work together to close the gap on the digital divide in our state.”
Tim Echols: Georgia Public Service Commission
“In a 21st-century economy, the ability to access high-speed broadband is incredibly important particularly in rural areas of our state,” said PSC Commissioner Tim Echols. “At the Public Service Commission, we’ve made expanding broadband access a priority, and it’s encouraging to see Coastal Electric and our state’s EMCs continue to show leadership in this area.”
“Our community deserves access to the tools that help our residents and businesses successfully participate in today’s economy,” State Rep. Al Williams said. “Thanks to Coastal Electric and Darien Communications for making broadband a reality in this area.”
“Coastal Electric Cooperative and Darien Communications have once again proven their commitment to service by working together to bring high-speed internet to rural areas,” said State Rep. Buddy Deloach. “Their leadership and dedicated employees continue to find ways to improve the lives of coastal Georgians.”
“Today is truly an exciting day for our community,” said Coastal Electric Cooperative CEO Chris Fettes. “This marks the beginning of a new era for our members who have long awaited high-speed internet service. The launch of Coastal Fiber, Inc. will finally make it possible for homes and businesses in this region to have access to critical broadband service.”
Coastal Electric CEO, Chris Fettes
In recent years, Georgia’s EMCs have been pursuing solutions to help expand broadband access. Some, like Blue Ridge Mountain EMC and Habersham EMC, have created affiliates and are already providing high-speed service to members, and many are exploring or have formed partnerships with broadband providers. In addition to today’s news, other EMC partnerships and projects were announced recently by Amicalola EMC, Carroll EMC, Central Georgia EMC, Colquitt EMC, Diverse Power, Irwin EMC, Middle Georgia EMC, Satilla REMC, Southern Rivers Energy, Tri-County EMC, and Washington EMC, resulting in expanded access for approximately 200,000 Georgia homes and businesses.
The Lifeline Program
Lifeline is the FCC’s program to help make communications services more affordable for low-income consumers. Lifeline provides subscribers a discount on qualifying broadband Internet service, monthly telephone service, or bundled voice-broadband packages purchased from participating wireline or wireless providers. The discount helps ensure that low-income consumers can afford 21st-century broadband and the access it provides to jobs, healthcare, and educational resources. As Coastal Fiber rolls out our services, we will provide Lifeline application and guidelines so that we may begin making eligibility determinations.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Will you have to dig up my yard as another provider did?
If your electric service is overhead, then the fiber drop will be overhead.
If your electric service is underground and in conduit, then we’ll push the new fiber service through the conduit, so there won’t be a need to dig up your yard.
Our practice of installing the electric service in conduit started in 2006. If your electric service is underground and direct-buried, then we’re going to have to trench in the fiber service.
What if I am happy with my present broadband provider. Will you still bring the fiber to my electric meter?
If a member does not want broadband from Coastal Fiber, then we’re not going to immediately install the fiber drop to their meter base. We plan to prioritize those requesting service.
Where can we go to see your speed and pricing packages?
We do not yet have information to share about the prices and packages that will be available. As we get closer to being able to accept new broadband customers those details will be announced on www.coastalfiber.com.