UGA student helps ComSouth receive designation as a Smart Rural Community
December 8, 2016
By: Sara Hand
ComSouth in Pulaski County, an Archway Partnership community partner, was honored this fall with the NCTA-The Rural Broadband Association Smart Rural Community Award. The company was recognized for its efforts to make the rural communities using its services vibrant places to live, work, and do business.
The designation as a Smart Rural Community will enhance current efforts in Hawkinsville-Pulaski county on economic development, education, and healthcare issues, all critical elements of the local Archway Partnership work plan for the community.
The goal of the NTCA Smart Rural Community initiative is to foster the development of communities throughout rural America and Canada by encouraging innovative implementation of broadband solutions and access to next-generation applications for distance learning, telehealth services, public safety, and security.
The Pulaski County Archway Partnership assisted in the preparation of ComSouth’s award application by connecting the company with University of Georgia Public Relations doctoral student Rosanna Cruz. A graduate assistant with the Archway Partnership, Cruz says her role was to help ComSouth highlight the innovative efforts and “tell its unique story as an innovator in rural broadband technology provision.”
Cruz says she “feel[s] fortunate to have been a part of ComSouth being recognized as a Smart Rural Community. Customers and community members alike had many experiences with how ComSouth has positively impacted their lives, and I was lucky to be able to speak to some of these people to help record what fast, reliable Internet service has meant for their lives and livelihoods.”
For the application, Cruz interviewed key community stakeholders to demonstrate how ComSouth’s services contribute to the community and its citizens’ well-being. She conducted interviews with Pulaski County Schools’ Telehealth Coordinator Morgan Castleberry, Central Georgia Technical College alumna Danielle Pennone, and ComSouth’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing Mike Penn.
Penn describes working with Cruz and the Pulaski County Archway Partnership, saying, “Rosanna and other efforts by the Archway Partnership helped us immensely in obtaining the award. Because of this award, ComSouth and our community have received national recognition of the broadband efforts in rural Georgia.”