ELLIJAY, Ga. – With more cloud based back-ups, traffic, and meetings thanks to the COVID-19 virus, the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners is updating their broadband internet again after a recent upgrade nearly four years ago.
According to Commissioner Chairman Paris, at that time, the major push towards cloud computing saw a major increase in need as internet speeds and traffic slowed majorly with more and more departments upgrading and integrating with cloud based software and storage.
However, this year, another boom has hit the county. Paris stated, “What we’re seeing now is sort of a variation of that. First of all, for the last few years that migration to the cloud has really accelerated. We’re seeing a lot more of that. But, with COVID, what we’re seeing now is just a massive number of video conferences, Zoom conferences. And those things just require ‘mega-bandwidth.’ So, what we’re seeing is we’re back to being slowed down again.”
Currently at 50 Mbps (Megabits per second), the county looked to upgrade to the next step up. Also, the county is currently paying $985 a month. According to Paris, he looked at the next step being 100 Mbps. This had a 36-month term costing $1,395 a month. However, there is also a 60-month term option costing $1,275 a month. Another major point of the plans that Paris said made him lean towards a 60-month term was the option to upgrade or downgrade at anytime as well as cancel at anytime “without any penalty.”
In previous meetings, members of the board have voiced concerns over long term contracts that might bind a future board.
Ultimately approving the bandwidth change for their internet, the board did decide for the longer 60-month term with the cheaper per-month cost.
Paris stated that over the past five years, the county has absorbed increasing costs in healthcare insurances, usually opting to attempt to keep employee premiums and costs to a similar area as the county increased their part. With only one of the recent years showing a decrease in health costs as the county’s negotiations were able to find a point of competition between companies, most of these years have increased through rising costs and the Affordable Care Act.
This year followed suit with rising costs, yet the county chose their option to stay with the plan they are currently on rather than opt for changes. Yet, Paris said that both options this year held increases for employees.
Staying with the current plan, the changes include a 14.7 percent increase for the plan. Employees on a base plan will see the rise from $47.10 to $54.10 on their bi-weekly deductions. Employee plans will see similar increases in each plan.
According to the presentation made to the BOC, the vision, dental, and life plans would not see any major change.