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High speed in 'God's country': Raysville meeting draws 40-plus residents to hear about broadband internet connection

Some big changes could be on the way for residents of the Raysville Community of McDuffie County before year's end.

That was the message delivered to them by Kelly Evans during a meeting at Raysville Baptist Church last Thursday night.

Mrs. Evans, who serves as information technology director for the City of Thomson and McDuffie County, said officials of AT&T may run fiber optic cable all the way from the Big Creek Water Treatment Plant on the Lincolnton Highway to the Raysville bridge.

"Raysville has been sitting on their plan for a long while," Mrs. Evans told a group of more than 40 residents. "They are your best, as it stands now, source for the future at getting DSL in the Raysville Community."

AT&T can offer three digital packages, ranging from 23 channels to a couple hundred channels, Mrs. Evans explained.

"The picture would be cleaner and more crisper," she said.

AT&T officials currently are involved in running fiber optic cable from the Thomson-McDuffie Regional Airport, along Washington Road to the county's Big Creek Water Treatment Plant, Mrs. Evans said.

Currently, residents living in the Raysville Community, have difficulty getting internet access. Many have to use satellite dishes, while others contend that the services they now have are too slow. Many have dial-up internet service, which creates slow download times in receiving photographs, etc.

In McDuffie County, there are only three licensed franchise cable providers - AT&T, Comcast of Augusta and Klip Cable of Conyers, Mrs. Evans pointed out.

She added that residents of the Raysville Community would pay for the service on a monthly basis - right now $24.95 through AT&T. Those attending the meeting were told they would be notified when they could sign up for the service.

"We're not here to change Raysville," she added. "You have to decide."

Many parts of Georgia have high-speed broadband Internet services, Mrs. Evans said. "But in God's country, in rural areas, like the Raysville Community, you don't have it," she added.

Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute Project Manager Greg Laudeman attended the public hearing and provided his input on the subject.

"Your being here is a big statement," Mr. Laudeman said. "It's all about working together."

He told the group that if broadband is made available to them, their world would literally come alive where they live.

"Everything would be so much easier," Mr. Laudeman said. "It's really a powerful tool to connecting to the world."

Mr. Laudeman also asked those attending the meeting to participate in a survey by the Enterprise Innovation Institute.

Bill Botham, meanwhile, a representative of Comcast of Augusta, said costs would prohibit the company from installing fiber optic cable in the Raysville Community.

"It would be a very, very expensive undertaking," he said.

Web posted on Thursday, September 06, 2007

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