08/31/2011

Economic Development at the Speed of Light

In a region dominated by lakes, rivers, mountains and national forests, there just isn’t an abundance of flat land to convert to industrial parks.  However, Northeast Georgia could soon see call centers and other IT businesses springing up throughout the region.  Through an initial effort by LumpkinDawsonUnion and White Counties, along with the Blue Ridge Mountain and Habersham EMCs, the North Georgia Network (NGN) was formed.   The NGN received state and federal funding to build a 260-mile high speed fiber optic core network that will eventually expand to 1,000 miles.

After losing hundreds of jobs due to the closure of textile mills and a reliance on tourism and lower-skilled jobs, these counties began to look for ways to recruit quality, high-paying jobs.  Digital-age businesses and the facilities that house them made a lot of sense.  The buildings wouldn’t take up a lot of square footage and could provide the jobs that their workforce so desperately needs.  Regional hospitals, public schools, universities, government facilities and residences will also benefit from access to high-speed fiber.  And it’s estimated that as many as 20,000 homes in an eight-county area will be served.

Earlier this year, several other counties in the region came together to finance a feasibility study as a first step in joining the NGN.  The core network will be complete in late fall 2011, and the entire network project will be complete in November of 2012.

North Georgia Network’s Trailwave™ fiber optic system represents the next wave of broadband technology, which uses light waves versus electricity to transmit data more efficiently.  The Network’s electronic equipment features the latest available digital optical technology to deliver broadband speeds as fast as those anywhere in the world.  When the network is complete, Northeast Georgia will be doing business at the speed of light!
Suzanne Browne
Project Manager, Existing Industry and Regional Recruitment
Region 2, Northeast Georgia

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