Internet access proves issue for expanding rural towns

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Throughout eastern North Carolina, many rural towns are expanding.

However, they are often crippled due to lack of internet access.

“The need for internet connectivity to monitor equipment, to learn new things and do homework is, it’s 24/7 now,” said Rodney Scott, managing partner of Eastern Carolina Broadband.

While many of us take Internet access for granted, it’s a novelty for some people in the East.

“We have very limited access at my home,” said Holly Thomas.

Holly Thomas is constantly dealing with spotty internet at home and work in Pink Hill.

“I realize we’re rural and not as big as a lot of the other towns and things like that, but you would think that at least around the town they would have better service than this,” said Thomas.

In order for North Carolinians to compete in this technological era, Governor Roy Cooper is proposing $20 million in his common ground budget be spent to improve internet access to underserved areas.

Pink Hill Could receive $300,000 to improve its internet capabilities.

“We have so many people that I’ve heard wanting to come to eastern North Carolina and then they look at just something as simple as internet, and they really are making their decisions based on the ability or inability to get internet to where we want to live,” Scott said. “So we want to change that equation.”

Scott is already working on improving internet access to towns like Pink Hill with start-up Eastern Carolina Broadband LLC.

“We’ll actually be beaming the internet signal from either a water tower or some tall tower to a person’s home, back and forth, so we’re able to reach out to those areas that are sparsely populated,” Hill said.

It’s a service many residents like Holly need.

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