Wed07302014

     Subscribe  |  Contact  |  Advertise  |  RSS Feed Other Publications

Wednesday, 28 August 2013 01:55

Loan for high-speed Internet company denied in Jackson

Written by 

Jackson County commissioners turned down a start-up Internet provider asking for a $1 million economic development loan to bring high-speed internet to rural areas.

 

County leaders have publicly lamented the lack high-speed Internet service in rural areas and have partnered with the N.C. Department of Commerce to conduct a survey of unmet demand. 

But they were ultimately unwilling to extend an economic development loan to Vistanet, questioning whether the business venture would meet the job-creation criteria to qualify for such a large sum.

Vistanet, which recently launched wireless high-speed Internet service in parts of Haywood County, wants to expand into Jackson County. The company beams an Internet signal from towers, considered a more cost-effective way of reaching rural areas where there’s otherwise not enough customers per mile to justify the cost of running fiber, cable of DSL infrastructure. Still, Vistanet CEO Andrea Robel said the loan was needed to cover the upfront cost of the equipment.

She took her request this month to the county commissioners, who double as the county’s revolving loan committee. Commissioners denied the application last week.

The seven jobs Robel said she would create fall far short of the job-creation criteria for that size loan — seven jobs would technically only be eligible for a loan of $70,000. Robel’s request, if it had been granted, would have been be the largest loan the county has ever given from its revolving fund. Moreover, the county only has $500,000 currently available in the fund. 

“I don’t want to speak for the commissioners,” Jackson County Manager Chuck Wooten said. “I just think she’s got a difficult story to convince commissioners to invest that kind of money.”

The last time the county granted an economic development loan to an Internet service provider, the company defaulted. The county was handed the title to a network of fiber lines along with a wireless Internet tower that had been put up as collateral for the loan. The equipment was sold off for a fraction of its worth, meaning the county did not recoup what it had extended to the company.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Read 847 times

Media

blog comments powered by Disqus

This Must Be the Place

  • This must be the place

    art theplaceWhen the camera bulb flashed, it hit me — had it really been that long?

    Standing in the Belhurst Castle, a Great Gatsby-esque property situated on Seneca Lake in Geneva, N.Y., I realized it had been around a decade since my childhood friends and I had been in the same room together. And yet, here we were, drinks in hand, smiles plastered across our faces, as family members and dates for the wedding stood in front of us, eager to capture the moment we all were huddled as one.

    Written on Wednesday, 30 July 2014 13:33 Read more...