Commissioners propose drafting contract with Turner Broadband

Published 5:27 pm Friday, December 11, 2015

The Decatur County Board of Commissioners discussed the failing internet service county residents are receiving through locally owned Turner Broadband at their meeting Tuesday.

Commissioners Pete Stephens and Russell Smith both said they have had numerous complaints about the internet service from Turner Broadband in the unincorporated parts of the county.

In August 2012, resident Shane Turner took over Main Street Broadband after the company went under. Main Street Broadband, LLC, and Decatur County signed a contract in December 2009, with the intention of creating a wireless broadband high-speed Internet service that could provide Internet connections to anyone in Decatur County. The project was included on the project list that voters approved in the SPLOST referendum.

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The county overspent its allotted $2.5 million in SPLOST funds on the project.

The equipment used to provide internet to the county is attached to Decatur County towers, and now the commissioners are concerned about drafting a contract for Turner using the county’s infrastructure in addition to delivering quality internet service to customers.

“This is a disaster for this county and it’s got to be addressed,” Stephens said. “Not only did we lose installing this system, we are also not getting any taxpayers dollars on investment now.”

Decatur County Attorney Bruce Kirbo said that if a private company was using equipment on towers that belonged to the county, a contract was a must between the two entities.

“We need a contractual agreement that specifies what we do and how we do it and when we do it and what we take for it,” Kirbo said. “That is a matter that I knew when I took this job that there was not a current contract and it’s just something that needs to be addressed.”

The Board of Commissioners directed Kirbo to begin drafting a contract with Turner Broadband.

“(Turner) has sure helped us out a lot, but how long are we going to continue this?” Smith asked. “My complaint is because I know personally my internet service is out a large percentage of the time.”