Broadband expansion

Published 10:38 am Friday, August 28, 2020

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One community works with Charter to get coverage

TRYON—One residential community is excited to find out after minimal internet service, Charter Spectrum will be bringing service to more than 20 homes.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met last week and heard from commissioner Ray Gasperson, who worked with one resident and Charter.

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Tucker Cox, from Stoney Ridge, spoke to commissioners about the effort.

“I’m really pleased tonight to show what happens when we have citizen involvement on the broadband expansion,” Gasperson said.

Cox said he and his neighbors were desperate.

Cox said there are about 21-22 residents in the community and 2 of those residents had reasonable, decent Internet service through Skyrunner. The rest, he said, had satellite with slow speeds.

“Everybody was upset all the time seeking some improvement in this service,” Cox said.

Cox said one resident called Charter to see if it were possible to get the service and at first, Charter said they could do it if the residents contributed $15,000. Cox and other residents raised the money and told Charter to go ahead.

After looking into it, Charter came back and said they would install the service in November and that they could do it for no charge.

Director of Government Affairs with Charter Communications Michael Tanck also spoke to commissioners last week.

Tanck said they are building a little more than 2 miles for that subdivision and it should be done by late October/early November.

Commissioner chair Myron Yoder asked if Charter can do this in any community in Polk County.

Tanck said this area was contiguous to where lines already were. If a community were 10 miles away, it could be another story. He said Charter is currently surveying some areas in the county to see what it would take to get service to those areas. He also said in areas that are far away from Charter lines, there are other providers who could get closer.

“We are looking at where we can expand,” Tanck said.

Tanck said Charter will come out and do a cost analysis and see if it makes sense or not. He said Stoney Ridge’s level of interest and their willingness to put a little skin in the game made a difference.

County manager Marche Pittman said the county is also having conversations with Windstream, River Street and Pangaea about expansions in the county.

Tanck also spoke of an assist program for low-income people who qualify. The program, Spectrum Internet Assist, is for new customers only and they have to qualify. The service for those who qualify is $17.95 per month. People can visit Charter online for more information.