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UGA’s Institute of Government Expanding Internet Access

April 01, 2021
by Jere W. Morehead, President

Reliable, high-speed internet has become essential to our quality of life, but access to this vital resource remains out of reach for many in rural and urban areas. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when much of our education, business, and health care has moved online, it has been more important than ever to help communities bridge this digital divide. UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government is at the forefront of this effort.

As part of the Georgia Broadband Deployment Initiative—a multiyear collaboration among the Governor’s Office, the Technology Authority, and internet service providers—the Institute of Government developed a map identifying broadband internet availability in Georgia’s 159 counties, down to the household level. The first map to provide this granular level of detail, it is now serving as a model for other states to see where investment in broadband infrastructure is most needed.

When the Institute of Government’s map was unveiled in July 2020, it showed that 10% of Georgia’s population—around 1 million people—lacked access to broadband internet. Since that time, the GBDI team has partnered with communities and internet service providers to address gaps in coverage. Beginning this month, Institute of Government staff will present at workshops hosted by the Broadband Office at the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to help local governments apply for funding to further expand broadband services. 

As a land-grant institution, the University of Georgia is committed to improving the quality of life for all Georgians, and I am grateful for the exceptional efforts of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government to fulfill this commitment.