AT&T: We’re coming

Published 10:30 am Monday, November 10, 2008

The message AT&T brought to the Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce’s monthly breakfast Thursday was: “We’re coming.”

David Walker, manager of AT&T’s Georgia network mobility, said the company plans to invest several million dollars in new infrastructure and perhaps a new retail store in Southwest Georgia. He said the retail store most likely will be located in Bainbridge.

Presently, the company has 15 active cell towers in Decatur and Seminole counties with plans underway to build at least 12 more, perhaps some by the end of the year.

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As Walker was describing AT&T’s coverage, he showed the state with various levels of “footprints,” with the Atlanta-metro area having the 3G capacity for high-speed data transmission over a cellular phone, and other areas in the state having 2G capabilities, which allows for voice and slower data transmission. 3G will not be available in this upgrade, but perhaps down the road, Walker said.

For the longest time, Southwest Georgia has had no coverage.

That’s changing as more infrastructure is being built and this area’s coverage “footprint” for voice and data transmission over cellular phones is enhancing.

AT&T doesn’t have coverage in outlying areas of Decatur and Seminole counties, but it does within a short distance outside of the City of Bainbridge, Walker said. “By the end of the year, we hope to have coverage.”

For fans for iPhones, where a person can make calls and surf the Web from those type cellular phones, those days may be coming soon to Southwest Georgia. E-mail attachments and Web pages load twice as fast on 3G networks as on 2G EDGE networks, which is the network type Southwest Georgia will have, so data transmission will not have the break-neck speed persons living in metropolitan areas enjoy with the 3G network, but at least it will be available.

In answering a question from the audience, Walker said a person who gets AT&T wireless service in Bainbridge may not be able to talk continuously on the cellular phone from Bainbridge to Albany or to Columbus. However, Walker said projections are that in 2009 they would be able to while traveling to Albany, and by 2010 while traveling to Columbus.

Member announcements

Billy Barber offered Chamber members a chance to join the Lake Seminole Association, which is open to anyone with interest in the future of Lake Seminole.

He said a delegation went to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers information meeting held in Dothan on Oct. 21 about the updated Water Control Manual. Barber said he doesn’t have any new information from that meeting.

Barber said more members are wanted for the association, which offers a voice for preserving and protecting Lake Seminole and more members would strengthen this area’s efforts to preserve the lake. He said the association’s annual meeting is slated for sometime in December, and the association is trying to get Brig. Gen. Joseph Schroedel, commander and division engineer with the Army Corps, to address the association at the meeting.

Also, Barber said the association is trying to implement an alligator control program that would perhaps have a trained person collect a certain percentage of alligator eggs from a nest and relocate or eliminate those eggs.

“The alligator hunt just doesn’t get the job done,” Barber said.

Gloria Coppinger told Chamber members about a chili cookoff to benefit the Spring Creek Volunteer Fire Department schedule on Nov. 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For $5, a person can sample as much of the chili the 45 chefs are to cook up for the event.

The Grassy Flat Boys and others will provide the entertainment, and there will be a bake sale and country store, as well as a silent auction of such items of vacations, gift cards and quilts. The silent auction will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The cookoff will be at the fire department, located at 2682 Highway 253 at its intersection with Highway 374.

Carla Robinson reminded Chamber members that the United Way is underway, and that board members may soon visit businesses around town to encourage payroll deductions earmarked for the United Way.

Chamber announcements

• The Chamber’s business spotlight, which would be featured in the monthly newsletter, is Dixie Dandy.

•Chamber President Evelyn Clay said the Agricultural Appreciation lunch is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 21, at the Cloud Livestock Pavilion, where the Ag Man and Woman will be honored. The scheduled speaker is Zippy Duvall, president and CEO of the Georgia Farm Bureau. The lunch has 27 sponsors, Clay said.

•The Chamber’s annual banquet is scheduled at the Kirbo Center on Jan. 22.

•Clay announced the following dates: Holiday Open House is Sunday, Nov. 23; the Chamber’s board retreat is Dec. 5; and Bainbridge Pharmacy is hosting a Business After Hours on Tuesday, Dec. 9, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The pharmacy wants to host the event to show Chamber members its recent expansion.