Western counties receive ‘GREAT’ news on broadband

The latest round of state grants for broadband infrastructure have landed, and represent a big win for six Western North Carolina counties that have been left on the wrong side of the digital divide.

Big money coming for rural broadband

More than a hundred economic development professionals, elected officials, internet service providers and interested parties from across North Carolina’s seven westernmost counties met March 21 in Franklin to acquaint themselves with the ways in which unprecedented amounts of state and federal broadband monies will be used to close the digital divide in rural Appalachia.

Jackson sets aside ARPA funds for internet service

“There is a definite and negative impact to lack of broadband in our community.”

Haywood reboots economic development arm

Unaffordable housing, a lack of broadband infrastructure, a staggeringly low unemployment rate and a relatively high number of job openings have changed the economic development landscape in Haywood County to the point that its chief economic development arm, the Haywood Economic Development Council, must also change.

Broadband a vital factor in Jackson’s growth

Broadband will be an important part of any and all future growth in Jackson County. Now, reliable Wi-Fi is free for all in a large portion of downtown Sylva.  

Milestone moment for broadband in Haywood

A public-private partnership between Haywood County and local internet service provider Skyrunner will soon result in broadband service for more than 300 locations in some of the county’s most underserved areas. 

Cawthorn tries to succeed where state broadband bills failed

The Coronavirus Pandemic has lain bare the massive digital divide between those with reliable high-speed internet access and those without, and a number of efforts by western legislators have attempted to address the issue over the past few years.

Bit by bit, major investments bring broadband to the mountains

After years of pecking away at Western North Carolina’s broadband problem at the state level, a large-scale federal investment in rural broadband access could bring a game-changing impact for schools, businesses and entrepreneurs across the country, state and region.

Local government-run broadband a bad idea

By Patrick Gleason • Guest Columnist | In times like these, with public resources scarce and taxpayer dollars facing tremendous strain, it’s imperative for state and local officials to focus on core functions of government, of which competing with the likes of Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T is definitely not one. Yet Franklin Mayor Bob Scott penned a guest column in the Asheville Citizen-Times recently arguing for just that, urging the North Carolina General Assembly to permit “local government to compete with big-boy providers” for internet access.  Whether Mayor Scott’s advice can become a reality now depends on the two Jan. 5 U.S. Senate runoff elections taking place in Georgia. 

School board, community work to garner internet access

At a July 30 special called meeting, Dr. Trevor Putnam presented the Haywood County School Board with a contract in conjunction with Green County Schools and the North Carolina Rural Center to provide 243 hotspots for students and staff without internet access. The service will be provided free for 12 months. 

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