Madison County Plans Towers as Part of High-Speed Internet Delivery

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Officials from the Appalachian mountain county met with internet providers to assess how a wireless internet option could benefit the community. Representatives from Charter Cable and French Broad Electric and Ridge Communications sat down with the county’s Development Services Offices on November 15. Without sufficient high-speed internet access for the towns and schools in the area, North Carolina state officials fear businesses and education will suffer.
Keith Conover of NC Broadband, a division of the state’s Department of Commerce, spoke to those gathered. According to the Citizen-Times, the county is heavily populated, but the mountainous landscape breaks up densely populated areas, and makes them more expensive to install infrastructure. French Broad Electric could play a vital role in providing service in the area. The firm already owns fiber-optic cables, and wireless transmitters could be added to provide “last mile” access to homes and businesses. 

In addition, towers already in the area could be used in the same manner to provide a fixed wireless solution. Although these options were discussed, Kelby Cody of French Broad Electric was unwilling to provide a concrete answer over whether or not the utility would be willing to submit to a fixed wireless solution, reports the Citizen-Times.

For his part, Conover did his best to remove any obstacles that could prevent wireless internet access from becoming a reality. “I’m in the excuse removal business. Let’s find a way to do it even if you don’t think we can.” The county expects to receive funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to assist with costs associated with the project.

 November 30, 2016

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