Most not happy with internet service

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Polk presents broadband survey to planning board

COLUMBUS — Polk County had over 600 people respond to a broadband survey, with leaders recently sending the results to providers.

The Polk County Planning Board met Thursday and heard from Polk County Information Technology Director Bruce Yelton, who presented the results of the survey, conducted in the spring of 2017.

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Following last year’s survey, a meeting was held with providers, hosted by the North Carolina’s Office of Broadband Infrastructure’s Keith Conover, Yelton said.

“The meeting focused on existing infrastructure and how it could be leveraged to add new or expand existing broadband services throughout Polk County,” Yelton said.

Pangaea/Polk, Charter, Skyline/Skybest, Riverstreet Networks and Catalpa Partners attended the provider meeting, which was held in October 2017.

The county’s survey was distributed following several complaints over no or poor internet service in the area. Petitions have circulated over the last couple of years because of the lack of service in several areas of the county.

The county’s survey asked if residents have service, reasons residents may not have service, what type of service they may have and if they are satisfied or dissatisfied with their service  and why.

Residents who responded they did have internet service mostly responded they are not happy with it. On the county’s survey, 471 responded they have service and are not happy with it, and 49 responded they are happy with the service.

Of the respondents who said they do not have internet service, 37 said they have no internet, and 51 said they have cell phone internet only.

Participation of the survey included 487 responses who gave full addresses, 82 who gave only a general area, 59 who gave only their township and seven who gave no location data.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners had created a committee to help improve broadband service in the county, with the group conducting the survey last year through hard copies and online.

Polk County Manager Marche Pittman said the committee did the survey and handed the results off to interested providers.

“We’ve given the data to [those] who would be interested in the service,” Pittman said.

Along with the survey, service maps were also provided, Pittman said.

“At this point, it’s just a matter of getting a provider to come in and provide that service,” he said.

The Bulletin published its own reader survey on local high-speed internet service, the results of which can be found on page 10.