Kinetic's $21 million fiber project to lay 360 miles in Lee County, Ga.

(UI) — State and local officials joined with fiber-broadband provider Kinetic to break ground on a $21 million, state-of-the-art fiber network that will provide ultrafast internet to more than 4,000 rural customer locations in Lee County, Georgia.

The project to serve Lee County is Kinetic’s first venture in the county.

When completed by the end of the year, it will make more than 4,000 homes, businesses, schools and medical facilities eligible for high-speed fiber internet for the first time.

“What Kinetic is doing is helping Lee County immeasurably,” Georgia Public Service Commission Chairman Jason Shaw said at Wednesday’s event. “For far too long, the hardworking families and businesses in Lee County have endured the absence of high-speed internet. It’s time they get the best in reliable broadband service, and that’s precisely what Kinetic is doing.”

Kinetic Georgia operations President Michael Foor said: “People in Lee County will soon experience a quantum-leap improvement in their internet services. As a fellow Georgian, I take pride in Kinetic’s role as a local company, employing community members to enhance the internet experience for others in our region. And we’re thrilled to give the people the premium internet connectivity they deserve for business, education, healthcare and personal needs.”

He also thanked electric cooperative Sumter Electric Membership Corp. for working jointly with Kinetic to secure the funding to expand Kinetic’s fiber optic broadband network to rural customers. Sumter EMC will also let Kinetic attach fiber to its utility poles.

“Sumter EMC has been an instrumental part in the delivery of fiber in its service area,” Foor said. “We are grateful for its willingness to support these efforts.”

Sumter EMC President and CEO Rene Smith expressed pride in the nonprofit electric cooperative’s role in helping Lee County get its $12.5 million broadband expansion grant.

“We are grateful for the forward thinking and diligence exhibited by county leaders and Kinetic during the grant process and look forward to the fiber expansion bringing economic and educational opportunities to rural Lee County,” he said.

The overall project is a result of a public–private partnership between the county and Kinetic.

Lee County will use about $12.5 million in state grant money from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program, part of the federal American Rescue Plan.

The county has also committed an additional $1.2 million in matching funds.

Kinetic will invest $7.3 million and cover any cost overruns. It will also place about 360 miles of fiber-optic cable to bring high-speed fiber internet to Lee County.

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