More Than 900 Avery Citizens Fill Out ‘Lack of Service’ Form for Broadband Coverage

Published Tuesday, December 22, 2015 at 5:02 pm

By Jesse Wood

This fall, Avery County asked residents and business owners to fill out a “Report Lack of Service” survey on the N.C. Department of Commerce’s state broadband website by the end of October.

This was done to encourage providers to expand its broadband coverage throughout the county.

Survey results from the "Lack of Service" reports in Avery County. Courtesy N.C. Office of Digital Infrastructure

Survey results from the “Lack of Service” reports in Avery County. White dots represent the location of those reporting lack of service. Courtesy N.C. Office of Digital Infrastructure

County Manager Tim Greene, who wasn’t available for comment on Tuesday, told the Avery Journal that 908 surveys were collected from households or businesses that had no coverage or were underserved.

The paper also reported that three vendors – Skyline/Skybest, Lightleap by NC Wireless and Country Cablevision – attended a Dec. 9 meeting and expressed an interest in “working with county government” to expand coverage in Avery.

Skyline and Lightleap by NC Wireless currently serve portions of Avery County. Country Cablevision project manager Dean Russell said that Country Cablevision has “hundreds of miles of cable stored at Mayland Community College, waiting to spread into Avery County,” the Journal noted.

Avery County Broadband Committee began meeting in June after Maxine Laws approached Greene about the broadband infrastructure in the county. She was particularly concerned about Internet access for students who don’t have it available in their homes, according to meeting minutes.

Avery County partnered with the Office of Digital Infrastructure for this project and Keith Conover from the Office of Digital Infrastructure recommended that the county form an ad hoc committee on this issue.

Laws, who is on the committee, reportedly said that the meeting was “successful” and the talks “constructive.”

“I think we have vendors who are interested in coming to the area to help get this thing moving,” Laws said.

For more information, contact the Avery County manager’s office and ask to speak with Tim Greene at 828-733-8201.

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