Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced the investments in Georgia from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund
Senator Reverend Warnock: “I thank federal regulators for heeding my calls to accelerate the process of getting these much-needed funds disbursed, and strengthening our efforts to expand broadband access across Georgia’s rural communities.”
Senator Reverend Warnock raised the issue with FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr in a Senate hearing on October 7th, pressing him on urgent need to expand broadband in rural Georgia
A champion for broadband expansion, Senator Warnock toured Georgia rural broadband provider WavCom where he spoke about the need for connectivity to ensure a level playing field for rural communities – READ MORE on WTVM
Last month, Senator Warnock introduced the Device Access for Every American Act to further close digital divides and secure internet-accessible devices for millions of households
Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the Subcommittee on Communications, Media and Broadband, applauded the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for announcing that Georgia providers will receive $149 million in funding to expand broadband access through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF).
“Hardworking Georgia families need reliable internet access for their jobs, education, health care and so much more. Broadband is a utility just like electricity or water,” Senator Reverend Warnock said. “I thank federal regulators for heeding my calls to accelerate the process of getting these much-needed funds disbursed, and strengthening our efforts to expand broadband access across Georgia’s rural communities.”
On October 7, 2021, Senator Warnock pressed FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr in a Senate Commerce hearing on the urgent need to provide broadband funding to Georgians. During the hearing, Senator Warnock specifically discussed the need for the FCC to quickly distribute awards from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to bridge the digital divide in Georgia.
Nine percent of all homes and businesses in Georgia—over 480,000—lack access to quality broadband. Nearly 75 percent of those unserved locations are in rural Georgia. The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund helps bring broadband and voice services to millions of unserved homes and small businesses across rural America. Beyond the $149 million announced, Georgia is expected to receive an additional $173 million from the fund, enabling broadband access for nearly 180,000 unserved homes and businesses across Georgia.
Watch video of Senator Warnock’s push to expedite broadband funding to Georgia HERE beginning at 4:44.
See below a transcript of Senator Warnock’s exchange with Commissioner Carr:
Senator Warnock: “[FCC] Commissioner Carr, we are working right now, and I was proud to join Chairman Lujan and others to champion increased broadband funding in the bipartisan infrastructure package. I hope the House will pass it soon. But even if that bill were signed into law today, it could take many years before some of these areas are served with high speed internet. Commissioner Carr, what are some short term solutions that Congress, and the FCC can pursue to expand telehealth access in areas that currently lack broadband?”
Commissioner Carr: “Well, one thing we can do very quickly is we have about $326 million that is slated to come to Georgia as part of our RDOF initiative over 10 years. That could bring service to about 179,000. We need to accelerate the process of getting that money that Georgia broadband builders won at the end of last year actually out the door. So, I think implementing the existing funds because there are billions and billions out there that we can put into the ground. I think that is important while the discussions go on about additional broadband funding.”