Local Development Authority Commissions Broadband Study
In an effort to understand the broadband connectivity of the Greater West Georgia region and to help foster infrastructure investments, workforce education and economic development, the Greater West Georgia Joint Development Authority (GWGJDA) has commissioned a broadband feasibility study.
Slated to commence in the fall of 2016, the study will survey public and private broadband users in the Greater West Georgia region to determine their broadband usage as well as their broadband goals and needs. The Greater West Georgia region consists of those counties who hold membership in the GWGJDA including Carroll, Coweta, Haralson, Heard, Paulding, Polk and Troup counties.
The emphasis of the study is fact-finding — surveying and understanding fiber connectivity to business parks, existing businesses and consumers and new growth opportunities in the region.
“This is the first of many steps to help bring advanced fiber connectivity and infrastructure investments to our area,” stated GWGJDA chairman, Tim Warren. “We need to fully understand our current broadband climate before we can plan improvements and upgrades.”
The Greater West Georgia broadband study is funded through a grant provided by Carroll Electric Membership Cooperative (EMC), a not-for-profit, consumer-owned cooperative that distributes electricity to 50,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers.
“We are excited to partner with the Greater West Georgia Joint Development Authority to get this broadband study underway,” said Carroll EMC President and CEO, Tim Martin. “We look forward to reviewing the findings of the study and being a partner in the development of a regional connectivity plan.”
Performing the broadband study is ECC Technologies, Inc (ECC), a technology and communications consulting firm responsible for the development of over $1 billion in technology-based projects globally. ECC has extensive experience facilitating broadband studies and projects.
Development Authority Tours Port of Savannah
About 18 members of the Greater West Georgia Joint Development Authority were treated to a tour of the Port of Savannah recently. The group, which includes civic leaders, business owners and representatives from the seven counties that make up the West Georgia region, also used the port facility to hold an economic development meeting.
Georgia Ports Authority’s Director of Statewide Economic Development and Government Affairs Bart Gobell (seen in the yellow vest) showed the GWGJDA group around the deepwater terminals and container facility that make up the Port of Savannah. Record years of growth at the Georgia Ports have meant enormous increases in total tonnage and container traffic. Cargo ships from all over the world bring their products to the U.S. through the port. Likewise, it connects Georgia-grown and Georgia-made products to the rest of the world. All of which has led to its title of the fastest growing container port in the U.S. And, just down the road, the Port of Brunswick is the No. 1 port in the country for automobile imports.
“Strong partnerships are key to economic growth,” said Gobell. “We work with many companies located in Greater West Georgia to provide beneficial logistic options for their current operations and future growth.”
“Those deepwater ports drive development and opportunity in every corner of our seven counties,” said Tim Warren, Chairman of the Authority and President of United Community Bank. “The Port of Savannah is our gateway to international commerce,” he added, recalling how important it was to securing the growing number of foreign companies who now call West Georgia home.
For Authority member Richard Davis, Vice President of Wayne Davis Concrete, seeing the vast size, scope and complexity of the GPA’s Savannah facilities really helped to bring everything into perspective. “It was meaningful to me to see the ports in person and meet our important partners across the state,” he said.
“Although we are technically four hours and a thousand feet above sea level from Savannah, it may as well be called The Port of West Georgia. That’s how close our connection is,” said Andy Camp, VP of Economic Development for Carroll Tomorrow. “Our strong logistics backbone is anchored by the largest single container terminal facility in North America. West Georgia companies focused on speed to market utilize the port on a daily basis so it’s a great partnership resource,” he noted.