Officials of USDA Georgia Rural Development and Pembroke Telephone Company met with local leaders in front of the Tattnall County Courthouse to announce that high speed internet will soon be coming to new areas of Tattnall, Candler, and Evans counties due to a USDA grant of $9,472,875 and a $3,157,625 investment by Pembroke Telephone Company. It is projected that more than 3,300 people, 55 businesses, 120 farms, and four educational facilities will be positively impacted.
The grant recipient, Pembroke Telephone Company, has served people in Bryan County for nearly 120 years, and it invested nearly $10 million on two prior ReConnect awards that extended access to high speed internet in Bryan and Evans counties. The company was founded in 1905 shortly after Pembroke was incorporated. It went through ownership by several owners until 1946 when it was purchased by Paul and Ivey Beardslee, who, after returning home after World War II, saw the potential of a small telephone company operating from the second floor of a small downtown building.
The Beardslee family continues to oversee growth from a 212 line telephone company with a manual switch board to a full-service communications provider with a fiber optic network reaching 100% of its service area and beyond. It is now marketed as PAC Fiber (Pembroke Advanced Communications), and it provides high speed broadband, Internet service, digital HD television, cellular and landline telephone services and supplies communication and digital transport service for area business.
Jeanne Beardslee McCormick and Mary Anna Beardslee Hite guide PAC into the future as the only locally-owned and operated advanced communications company in the area. They are two beautiful ladies who look like they could audition and win roles In the Andy Griffith Show, and they
proudly support their community by advocating employee volunteerism and providing financial support to many local causes. PAC employs about 40 people, and many of them live in north Bryan County.
This award is part of a $741 million nationwide announcement of the fourth round of ReConnect funding, which is part of President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It will provide connectivity to rural communities throughout the nation to help expand the economy. Since the beginning of the Bipartisan infrastructure effort, the Administration has invested in 142 ReConnect Projects that will bring high speed internet to 314,000 rural Americans.
From the outside looking in, it would appear that for once, the Federal Government has done its homework. PAC Fiber is a locally owned company that has grown and developed with the surrounding communities; it understands the needs of the local people and can get the job done.