Highline Updates BOC on County’s Broadband Project

March 6, 2024

Highline representative Dillon Watson told commissioners last week that company efforts to provide broadband to previously unserved residents of Upson County have yielded positive results – more customers and fewer problems than expected.

He added that Highline has made an additional $2.6 million internal investment to expand availability.

“We hooked up the first customer in March 2023 and got 340 subscribers through December 2023,” Watson said, noting that number was 70 over initial projections. “We now have more than 450 and are averaging about 50 new connections per month.”

In addition, he said complaints have been minimal.

“Our average completion time from customer inquiry to installation is less than seven days,” Watson told commissioners. “We are averaging one service call per month – a total of only seven trouble calls because of a malfunction. That’s unheard of.”

Among new customers are the East Lee Street government complex, and county road department, the animal shelter, and Sprewell Bluff Trading Post. Fiber infrastructure is in progress at the new justice center and should be ready by October, according to Watson.

“Right now we have 2,872 service-available dwellings, with another 1,154 to go by summer,” he said, adding that initial projections were around 2,000 at this point. “We’ve made an extra internal investment of $2.6 million to capture all the homes in between.”


With Highline’s actual spending to date at $9.3 million, according to Watson, the additional $2.6 million will bring the company’s total investment to almost $12 million.

“So you’ve completed your contractual obligation to the county and state,” Board Chairman Norman Allen said, noting that the county’s investment was made with American Rescue Plan Act funds.

“Yes, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop,” Watson responded.

He said Highline can expand to additional neighborhoods if there is enough customer interest, limited by areas controlled by other providers. “Very few homes in Upson County will be considered unserved.”

In other business, commissioners approved a $64,769 expense (originally budgeted $55,000) for a Ford F-250 for the water department ; and approved a $47,500 expense (price was $35,000 in 2022) for a pickup truck for the road department.

Both vehicles will be purchased from Wade Ford, and will be paid with special purpose local option sales tax proceeds, according to county officials.