Rural areas still waiting for broadband
Federal government is divvying out $7.2 billion in the coming weeks to extend broadband in rural areas across the U.S. The problem is, the government needs four times that amount to cover everyone who’s asking for high-speed internet.
The Rogers family lives in Burgaw. Bonnie Rogers relies on the internet for her graphic design work, but has trouble connecting. “It’s the worst whenever it’s raining,” she said. “It can be very irritating, very irritating, especially if you’re in the middle of doing something really important.”
Other folks in Burgaw have the same problem…
“Coming from Wilmington, moving out here, you really can’t find anything, it’s going from broadband you have to get satellite, it’s just really hard to find something where you can get x-box live,” said Julian Sloop.
Rogers understands it is a problem for many in Pender County. “We all share the same problems as far as not being we’re not near cable lines you know television cable lines that kind of stuff, we’re not near broadband lines that they lay down.”
As chair of the sub-committee on rural development in Congress, Mike McIntyre helped secure funding to extend broadband in our surrounding rural areas.
“We’re beginning to see that come to our area, it’s critical,” McIntyre said. “Latest statistics from Atlantic Telephone Membership Corporation, 80% of Brunswick has been reached through those efforts, about 20% in Columbus. Columbus County is where President Clinton came in April of 2000, and said let’s bridge the digital divide. Well I think nearly a decade later, it’s high time to get that done.”
Pender county residents hope they’re next. “I would love it. I would love it, that would be great,” Rogers said.
The federal government has received thousands of applications asking for $28 billion in stimulus funding for new broadband projects across the United States. They have just over seven billion to spend.
In the coming weeks, we’ll know exactly where that money will go.
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