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PO box 1159, Toccoa, GA 30577 706-886-2191 706-282-0189 fax www.wnegradio.com

GUNBY HELPS SOUTH GEORGIA GET CONNECTED
August 8, 2008

One area in south Georgia will soon have access to the latest in broadband Internet technology, and a Toccoa company can share in the credit. The South Georgia Regional Information Technology Authority will come online soon in its service area of Baker, Calhoun, Early, Miller, and Mitchell counties.

The Authority came together as an effort to provide a broadband communications network for this area, which is one that remains underserved or ignored by existing broadband Internet service providers due to geography and other factors.

Ron Ham is the project's manager. He says it can help with economic development and the agriculture industry. "In the pilot, there is a location where they have one barn that has just a wireless router connected to an Internet connection," says Ham. "When the tractors pull up, it automatically connects to that wireless router and gets the latest chemical ratios that need to be used for the chemicals in use on that tractor. It updates the GIS information on that tractor. They have auto-steer technology. They can take a tractor that is guiding a piece of equipment 60 feet across and 50 feet long and they can turn it loose in a field doing 20 miles per hour and basically driving itself to a one-inch accuracy."

To help get the project online, Gunby Communications of Collier Road won a bid to develop the wireless sites for the network, 19 in all.

Gunby Communications General Manager John Smith says 15 companies bid for the work and Gunby came out on top. "We made the first cut of the five when they cut it to the five vendors," says Smith. "Then, they checked our references and we have a lot of experience with 911, wireless, and public safety activities. After checking those references, they felt we would be good for the project."

Ham says the project will come online September 1 after a month-long testing period and will serve as a model for the entire state of Georgia.

This project, and this move forward, could not have happened without Gunby, Ham says. "The guys from Gunby were just a real blessing," adds Ham. "They had a great attitude in the heat, gnats, and clay. Those guys worked hard day and night. They would rig steel at night and then go put the steel in the hole in the morning. The president of the company was down in the hole with them, getting clay and dirt all over him. We had many compliments about Gunby. They are a good group." The project took Gunby Communications about seven weeks to complete.