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. 

School surveys reveal lack of internet connectivity

As schools shut down during the pandemic, students were sent home and instructed to tune in online. Chromebooks were loaned out, and teachers began the process of getting material for the rest of the school year online. But for many students, there was still the problem of reliable internet. 

Morris announces internet speed, access increases

Morris Broadband has significantly upgraded and expanded its service in Macon and Jackson counties, increasing both its download speeds and its service area as the new decade begins.

Jackson discusses solutions to slow internet

Sylva was named the nation’s slowest city for internet in a recent report from internet service comparison website www.highspeedinternet.com, and that struggle continues to be a frequent topic of conversation in town and county meetings. 

Macon approves funding for broadband projects

Getting impatient waiting for private providers or the government to help in the effort to bring high-speed internet service to its rural communities, Macon County commissioners approved funding to support two community initiated projects already underway. 

House bill could be helping hand for broadband

There’s probably no bigger economic development issue in rural America than access to dependable high-speed internet service. 

“One hundred percent,” said Rep. Kevin Corbin, R-Franklin. “It’s the biggest issue in Western North Carolina as far as infrastructure and the economy.”

Leveraging the best requires better broadband 

By Bob Scott • Guest Columnist

Those of us fortunate enough to live in communities where natural amenities abound know just how attractive these places can be to people who define their lives by recreational pursuits that are tied to our streams, rivers and mountains. 

In Macon County and Franklin, where I am mayor, I see it every day, whether hikers setting out along the Appalachian trail, kayakers and rafters rolling down the Nantahala or Cullasaja rivers, or fly fishers plying the smaller waters all around. 

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