GEORGIA (WRBL) – Georgia state lawmakers say the pandemic has made rural broadband expansion a key priority under the gold dome.

Earlier this month, Governor Brian Kemp said homes and businesses in 70 counties across Georgia will receive a combined total of $400 million for better internet access, with funds from the American Rescue Plan act.

The Broadband Infrastructure Committee received applications last year to determine who would be eligible for the grant money, with priority given to un-served or under served communities.

“The reason it is not fair for urban children or some urban children to have access to the internet and if you live in the rural areas, they do not have access at times and it would make it an even playing field,” said State Senator Dr. Ben Watson.

The funds will help build towers and add cable lines, plus expand locations that don’t have internet. State lawmakers say rural internet will help those who need access to telehealth services and kids cope better with virtual learning.