Atlanta/ Politics & Govt
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Published on May 14, 2024
Georgia's Connectivity Boost: 100 New Jobs in Norcross to Expand Broadband Internet StatewideSource: Unsplash/ Franck

Georgia's efforts to bridge the digital divide took a leap forward last Friday as the U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock announced at a Norcross-based fiber optics firm, OFS, that 100 new jobs will be created to expand broadband internet access throughout the state. This expansion is a result of the $1.3 billion the Peach State scored from the federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, part of the sprawling Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

"I'm so proud to be here today to celebrate our efforts to bridge the digital divide in Georgia by investing more than $1 billion in expanding broadband and strengthening access to affordable high-speed internet across the country," Warnock said in a statement by WABE. As they were trailed by a sea of media members and factory workers, Warnock and Raimondo toured the OFS facility, showcasing the latest advancements in fiber optics technology.

OFS President and CEO Holly Huse expressed her gratitude for the support that has enabled their firm to play a critical role in the global high-speed internet expansion. "There are many among of us who still don't have this access, and we are thrilled to be part of a team bringing healthcare, education and employment access to America," Huse told the gathering, outlining the far-reaching impacts of enhanced internet accessibility, according to WABE.

Focusing on the workers' dedication, Raimondo praised their pride in manufacturing fiber optics critical for broadband infrastructure. "It's unbelievable the pride that every one of these workers have in their work," Raimondo told the crowd having witnessed the slicing and testing, as reported by WABE. The expansion is set to not only bolster Georgia's broadband accessibility but also proudly keep production stateside.

Ernestine Roger-Lightford, an Ellenwood local who recently got a high-speed internet connection after her husband was diagnosed with cancer, shared how transformative the access has been. "Having high-speed internet, we can do telehealth at home instead of going to the doctor's office … instead of [being] in the 285 traffic trying to get there," she said according to a WABE interview.

The event also doubled as an indirect endorsement of President Joe Biden's administration, with Raimondo crediting him as the most pro-Union president in United States history. Biden, labeled by Raimondo as crucial to the mission of rebuilding American manufacturing, is slated to speak at Morehouse College in Atlanta this Sunday.