Kinetic by Windstream and Sumter EMC Team Up to Expand Broadband Access Across Rural Georgia

Thursday, October 28th, 2021

Kinetic and Sumter EMC today announced a working agreement to deliver fiber broadband to 16,000 homes and businesses in Southwest Georgia. The unique collaboration means over the next four years, Kinetic will build approximately 1,000 miles of fiber-optic cable across eleven counties.

“Building reliable, ultrafast internet service in rural areas requires collaboration and public-private partnerships,” said Tony Thomas, president and CEO of Windstream. “Kinetic by Windstream will accelerate our deployment of fiber broadband throughout rural Georgia through this unique collaboration with Sumter EMC. We also are working with counties across the state to expand broadband through the Georgia Broadband Program. At Windstream, we firmly believe by working together we can make broadband a reality.”

Kinetic by Windstream will attach fiber to utility poles owned by Sumter EMC. Most of the capacity of the expanded network will deliver broadband to homes and businesses across the Sumter EMC footprint, including Chattahoochee, Dougherty, Lee, Marion, Quitman, Randolph, Schley, Stewart, Sumter, Terrell and Webster counties. The remaining capacity will be allocated to Sumter EMC to serve as the backbone for communications to the EMC’s power system equipment.

“We recognized the need for broadband as a key component of education and productivity in rural Georgia many years ago and have been actively pursuing viable solutions,” said Rene Smith, CEO of Sumter EMC. “There have been some success stories, but a solution that really benefitted sparsely populated areas remained elusive until now. Through this arrangement, Kinetic by Windstream will build and operate the broadband network and provide broadband services to residences and businesses.”

When the project is complete, the percentage of Sumter EMC’s member-owners who have access to broadband services will increase from 35 percent to 84 percent. Through the agreement, Sumter EMC and Kinetic will coordinate their engineering and construction activities. The installed fiber network will also enhance electric system reliability through the simultaneous implementation of high-speed fiber-optic communications as a component of Sumter EMC’s ongoing smart-grid investments.