In an effort to expand wireless internet service in underserved communities, Sussex County council approved an agreement to allow broadband providers to install equipment on up to two state-owned towers at no charge for two years, reported the Cape Gazette. The 2018 county budget includes $1 million to provide this access to underserved areas in the county.
According to Dwayne Kilgo, county director of information technology, the county will pay the Delaware Division of Communications $1,000 a month for two years as an incentive to expand their services to underserved areas. After the two-year mark, costs will be the responsibility of the provider.
Because a tower serves a five to six-mile radius, it’s possible as more towers are added to the system, upgraded internet service will eventually be accessible to all rural areas in the county, Kilgo said.
Councilman Rob Arlett commented on the impact lack of access has on school-aged children and the importance of this initiative. “I think we also need to know that we’ve got to do this for the kids. A lot of kids go home and can’t do school work, can’t use the internet because they can’t get access. I think we have to continue to seek and search for ways to bring high-speed internet to our residents and to those students.”
Kilgo estimates that service to some areas could be available within one month, with expansion to other underserved areas to follow.
April 19, 2018