Business Briefs: Georgia businesses jump to record high

Business Briefs: Georgia businesses jump to record high

May 17th, 2017 by Staff and Wire Reports in Business Around the Region

Haslam says new law will boost broadband

BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. — Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a bill seeking to make it easier for rural areas to get access to the internet.

The Republican governor gave official approval to the Broadband Accessibility Act of 2017 at a ceremony in Brownsville on Tuesday afternoon.

The measure clears the way for nonprofit electric co-ops to start providing both internet and video service. It also provides $45 million in grants and tax credits to co-ops and internet service providers, such as AT&T and Comcast, to encourage the development of internet in areas that don't have it.

A last-minute change adopted by lawmakers lowered the minimum internet speed requirement from download speeds from the federal definition of 25 megabits per second to 10 megabits per second.

The measure does not remove the territorial limits on municipal power utlities like EPB from offering broadband service outside of their TVA-designated service territories, however.

Alexander backs NAFTA to new labor secretary

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., joined with 18 other senators to urge Labor Secretary Robert Lighthizer to maintain and strengthen the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Alexander said "has been responsible for thousands of new jobs and higher family incomes in Tennessee.

"We ought not to lose sight of the benefits of trade — Tennessee sends soybeans, cars, auto parts, and medical devices all over the world," Alexander said in a statement Tuesday.

Last year, Tennessee businesses exported $31.4 billion of goods. According to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, 926 foreign-based businesses employ more than 127,200 Tennesseans.

Atlantic Capital finishes FSG corporate conversion

Atlantic Capital Bank has completed its rebranding of the former FSG Bank in East Tenessee and Northwest Georgia

The Atlanta-based Atlantic Capital, which acquired the Chattanooga-based First Security Group (FSG) in 2015 for $160 million, has put its new name on 14 bank branches in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Dalton, Ga., and in Jefferson County, Tenn., and updated operational systems and the corporate website (

"We are proud to be a premier southeast financial services firm. Atlantic Capital is in a unique position to offer customers wide ranging solutions, backed by extensive industry experience and an exceptional service delivery promise," said Peter Lindeman, Chattanooga Market Executive at Atlantic Capital Bank.

Atlantic Capital relocated the bank's Tennessee headquarters from Broad Street to the third floor of Warehouse Row.

Georgia businesses jump to record high

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said Tuesday the state processed an all-time high of 588,427 annual business registrations this year, up from the previous record of 532,062 registrations in 2016.

Kemp said his office's eCorp platform, rolled out in 2015 as a user-friendly and easily navigable interface for electronic filing, helped the filing of business paperwork.

"By implementing a streamlined registration system for our constituents, we have slashed bureaucratic red tape for hundreds of thousands of businesses," Kemp said. "Thanks to technology and innovation, Georgia businesses can focus on creating jobs instead of filing burdensome paperwork."

During the annual registration period each year, officers and registered agents of for-profit corporations, non-profit corporations, professional corporations, limited liability companies, and limited partnerships must file up-to-date business registrations.

Decline in uninsured comes to a halt in 2016

Five years of progress in reducing the number of uninsured Americans has come to a halt. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new figures that estimate 28.6 million people were uninsured in 2016, the same as a year earlier.

Experts said that means former President Barack Obama's health care law was hitting its limits during his final year in office. The number of uninsured could start climbing again under President Donald Trump and the Republican Congress.