ATLANTA – Gov. Brian Kemp awarded a new round of grants Wednesday that will send more than $235 million in federal pandemic relief funds to broadband projects in 28 Georgia counties. The grants were announced in December by Sen. Jon Ossoff as part of the American Rescue Plan.

This story also appeared in Capitol Beat News Service

When combined with significant local matches, nearly $455 million will be used to serve more than 76,000 locations across the state, many in rural communities most in need of high-speed internet access.

“Georgia is again leading the nation in identifying where the digital divide is the deepest and acting on that knowledge to improve service,” Kemp said. “These projects announced today will go a long way to helping Georgians in some of the most unserved and underserved parts of the state become better connected.”

Ossoff detailed the grants in an updated release. “This broadband expansion is crucial for children who are doing schoolwork at home in the afternoons and for small businesses and farmers. We want to make sure every community in Georgia benefits from high-speed internet access,” Sen. Ossoff said.

The 29 grants range in size from $18.4 million going to Spectrum Southeast in Madison County in Northeast Georgia to almost $3 million headed to locations served by Comcast Cable Communications in Hancock County near Milledgeville.

The winning internet service providers applied for grants after the governor announced this round of funding last August.

The grant awards announced Wednesday follow an earlier round of funding last February of $408 million in pandemic relief aid. Together, the two rounds of funding are aimed at serving about 200,000 of the remaining 455,000 unserved locations in Georgia.

The state plans to open another round of grant funding for the five eligible counties that have not received grants thus far: Calhoun, Echols, Johnson, Miller, and Webster counties.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

Dave Williams/Capitol Beat

Dave Williams is bureau chief for Capitol Beat News Service, a service of the Georgia Press Education Foundation.