MONROE COUNTY, Ga. -- The Georgia rural broadband situation is worse than the FCC maps once showed. Residents in Monroe County say they're tired of the slow connections -- but a solution may be in the works.
"I know that in Monroe County, we're struggling to fill in gaps in the rural coverage," resident Denis Smith says.
"We are so far behind in so many ways of the general population," resident Tyler Garland says. "Children can't do homework, they can't do assignments. They need to access the internet."
A report from the FCC in September revealed they've mistaken just how many people are without internet or broadband services in rural Georgia.
"It's been very frustrating," said George Emami, a Monroe County commissioner and chairman of the county's Internet Expansion Committee. "It's a lot of ways to feel forgotten about. ...There's not enough of a voice in Monroe County."
That's only half the issue.
"Part of the problem is making sure that the providers know there are prospective customers wanting that service," Emami said.
Emami says broadband companies are missing prime areas for coverage.
"It really comes down to an economics problem" he said. "The more dense the area is, the easier it is for internet service providers to provide service. The farther you have to go to between houses is more costly because you have to run more line."
A large part of Emami's campaign was to help connect and expand coverage in the county with service providers.
In the last referendum, voters in Monroe County approved to set aside $700,000 for internet expansion in the county.
"Our goal with that $700,000 was to incentivise another $700,000 -- or $1.4 million -- from someone else to do projects in Monroe County," Emami said. "You have to start somewhere when you're fighting a fire."
Next month will hopefully help move things along, as officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will host a forum for representatives and broadband companies to speak with the public on what they're doing to connect rural communities.
"Our goal is very simple," Emami said. "We want to assist current internet service providers or future internet service providers that may wish to want to enter our county. We want to make that process for those companies as smooth and as easy as possible."
The Georgia ReConnect Broadband Workshop is set for Thursday, December 5 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth. You are asked to pre-register by Dec. 2.