broadband

Chris Hunkeler / Creative Commons

A study from the North Carolina Cable Telecommunications Association finds that utility poles -- in particular, who owns them -- are holding up access to high speed internet across the state. 

Courtesy of North Carolina Broadband Infrastructure Office

In the eight westernmost counties in the state, much of the population doesn't have access to broadband . Recent data also shows that access to speeds above 25 Mbps are even worse - less than 15 percent in Cherokee, Clay, Graham and Swain Counties. 

The broadband gap has become even more apparent during the pandemic as workers and students moved to working from home via the internet. 

Lilly Knoepp

  Rural broadband access in Western North Carolina has seen funding and supportive legislation in recent months.  

 

BPR spoke to those who have been working on the issue for years about what these strides could mean.

 

Courtesy of Western Carolina University

Just as it was thinking of getting out of the public utility business, Western Carolina University will instead be expanding its offerings to include improved internet service in the area around its Cullowhee campus.

 

How This Small Mountain Town Got Internet Access

Aug 9, 2018
Lilly Knoepp

 It’s no secret that access to  internet in western North Carolina is a big problem. A recent study found that 73% of people in the area find that their internet access or speed does not meet their needs.

 

wunc.org, Michel Tronchetti

A common frustration for residents throughout the mountains of Western North Carolina is the lack of high speed internet access.   They now have a place where they can vent. BPRs Davin Eldridge has more…

Author's Note: a link to the survey is provided at the bottom of the article.

Davin Eldridge

Local governments in the far reaches of Western North Carolina are working to lure more internet service providers to the region.  BPR’s Davin Eldridge spoke with a few homegrown providers about the growing demand for quality internet service, and why it's such a difficult area to do this kind of business in the first place.

NPR.org

Business owners in the mountains of far-Western North Carolina say poor internet access hurts their ability to sell their products online.  Local governments in the region are trying to step in and help – but it’s not been easy.  BPR's Davin Eldridge has more...

connect.dc.gov

The need for stronger internet service in the Western North Carolina mountains has one national advocacy group pushing local governments in the region to take lead.

Chris Mitchell is the director of community broadband internet initiatives at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance—a D.C.-based nonprofit that focuses on policy and advises local governments in matters of autonomy. He says rural municipalities are increasingly lacking in the realm of broadband internet connectivity.