Columbia County Georgia Information Technology Department

Columbia County Community Broadband Network

The Columbia County Community Broadband Network plans to build a 220-mile, county-wide fiber middle mile network to connect nearly 150 community anchor institutions and enhance health care, public safety, and government services throughout this eastern Georgia county. Anchor institutions expected to be connected at broadband speeds of 100 Mbps to 10 Gbps include K-12 schools, fire and emergency facilities, public libraries, Augusta Technical College, and the Columbia County Health Department. The project also plans to facilitate the creation of a high-capacity data center at the Medical College of Georgia, support a sophisticated county-wide traffic and water control system, and construct five wireless towers to enhance public safety communications as well as improve wireless communications capabilities throughout the region.

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BTOP In Action
A wireless tower in Columbia County that provides public safety communications

On December 13, 2010, Columbia County initiated construction on 205 miles of fiber-optic network at a groundbreaking ceremony near the Columbia County Library in Evans, Ga. This library was the first Internet access point for the new broadband network and houses network servers.

Upon completion, Columbia County had connected nearly 100 community anchor institutions to its 205-mile, county-wide fiber middle mile network. The county improved access to healthcare, public safety, and government facilities, and provided dozens of free Wi-Fi hotspots to community locations, including parks, libraries, and community centers. The county constructed seven wireless towers (five are BTOP-funded) to improve wireless communications capabilities throughout the region.

One of the primary goals of the network was to enhance public safety communications in the county. Using the new towers, the county connected more than 30 public safety entities and also connected traffic devices, including stop lights, surveillance equipment, and notification boards, to the statewide Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) to improve public safety and traffic flow along the major transportation corridors. The first entity to benefit from the high-speed access was the Sheriff’s Office. “This is 10 years in the making. This is huge…No matter where they are, with this portable radio, they’ve got coverage…It’s like going from a tin can and string to a real radio,” Sheriff Clay Whittle said.

Reports and Documents
Award Documents