Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 20

GEORGIA'S Energy Outlook

By Dennis Chastain

EMCs roll out red carpet
for broadband

ERIN COOK / BETH MCMILLAN

A

s a reader of Georgia Magazine,
you know that electric membership cooperatives (EMCs)
are owned by their member-consumers.
In addition to providing safe, reliable
power to more than 4 million residents
and businesses across the state, Georgia's
EMCs care about the communities we
serve, and we strive to make a difference
in these communities every day.
If supporting your local food pantry,
high school sports team or fall festival
comes to mind, you're right. Anywhere
you go in Georgia, an EMC is investing
in the local needs and priorities of its
members. But there is so much more.
EMCs and their statewide trade association, Georgia EMC, are major economic
drivers across the state.
What does that mean? EMC leadership knows that the best way to protect
member interests is to make sure the
state and local economies are strong. We
invest significant time, resources and
funding to grow business in our state.
EMCs are rising to meet another
challenge: the need for reliable internet
service in rural Georgia. Part of that effort
includes renting space on our poles to allow broadband companies quick, reliable and low-cost access to our system. The
rental fees we charge are a fair share of the costs EMCs incur
for building and maintaining poles and rights of way. There is
nothing unusual about EMCs charging for this use of our assets;
it is a common and fair nationwide business practice. Plus, it
provides cable and telephone companies with an efficient way
to run their wires by attaching them to EMC poles that you, our
members, pay to install and maintain.
However, some still say pole-attachment rental rates are
keeping cable companies from expanding internet service to
rural areas. That's simply untrue, and there are no facts to
support this position. The issue of pole-attachment rates is now
with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), and EMCs
are glad. We want to protect our member-owners while helping
unserved communities get internet access, and we are
confident that the upcoming PSC decision related to pole
attachments will enable us to do both.
No one is working harder for broadband expansion in rural

Georgia than EMCs. Our members need
internet to run their households and
businesses; educate their children; obtain telehealth services; and stay in touch
with friends and family. That's why EMCs
are rolling out the red carpet for rural
broadband with a bold and innovative
solution. We call it the "One Buck Deal,"
and it means any new attachments that
qualified providers bring to deliver internet in unserved communities will be charged just $1 per year
per pole for five years. In addition, our proposal includes a
program called "Georgia One Touch Make Ready," to empower
internet providers with the freedom to prepare EMC poles without delay. This program will result in cheaper, faster and more
efficient attachments to our poles. With these programs, Georgia
can lead the nation, expanding broadband availability for rural
Georgians without raising electric rates.
We are serious about creating incentives for and partnerships with those who are serious about providing high-speed
internet to rural Georgia. We are doing all we can to bridge the
digital divide and can't wait to see who will join us.
Dennis Chastain is president/CEO of Tucker-based Georgia
EMC, the statewide trade association representing the state's 41
electric cooperatives, Oglethorpe Power Corp., Georgia Transmission Corp. and Georgia Systems Operations Corp.

EMCs propose bold
incentives to attract
broadband providers
to rural Georgia.

20

Georgia Magazine

November 2020

For more information, visit EMCs4ruralbroadband.com.


http://www.EMCs4ruralbroadband.com

Georgia Magazine - November 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - November 2020

Contents
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 4
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 5
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 6
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 7
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 8
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 9
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 10
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 11
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 12
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 13
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 14
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 15
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 16
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 17
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 18
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 19
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 20
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 21
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 22
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 23
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 24
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 25
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 26
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 27
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 28
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 29
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 30
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 31
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 32
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 33
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 34
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 35
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 36
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 37
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - 38
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - November 2020 - Cover4
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