GEORGIA (WRBL)Irwin EMC, an electric cooperative that serves 8,400 members, has partnered with Conexon Connect to build a 1,900 fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network in south central Georgia.

This new network will reach all of Irwin EMC’s members in Ben Hill, Berrien, Coffee, Irwin, Tift, Turner, Wilcox, and Worth counties.

“Today’s announced broadband project between Irwin EMC and Conexon Connect will have a significant impact on hardworking Georgians by providing new job opportunities, improved education tools, access to telemedicine, and more,” said Governor Kemp in a news release. “I know this project will have a direct impact on the lives of south Georgians by ensuring they have access to reliable, high-speed internet.”

“Rural broadband is a critical issue for Georgia and across the nation,” said Georgia Public Service Commissioner Jason Shaw in a news release. “Irwin EMC is a leader in their community and this partnership with Conexon Connect creates a solution to provide high-speed internet in unserved areas. This is another example of how EMCs are stepping up to serve rural Georgia and further improve the quality of life for their members.”

“The digital divide is very real in many communities across rural Georgia. Conexon Connect has formed multiple relationships with Georgia EMCs and we are excited for the opportunity to make a difference for those served by Irwin EMC,” said Conexon Partner Randy Klindt in a news release. “As we have seen in countless communities across the country, high-speed internet has the power to completely transform rural life.”

The network is expected to be completed within 2-3 years, and the first customers are anticipated to be connected in summer of next year.