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chatham county nc
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Chatham County NC Share Your Connectivity Perspective in a Survey
With the release of our North Carolina report, it is important to remember that reports and maps are only as good as the underlying data. Although federal and state governments have collected information on deployment and access for several years, the accuracy and quality of that data is up for debate. Chatham County, North Carolina, wants to show the actual situation that local residents face.
Chatham County is encouraging every household or business to complete a survey this next month. The survey will enable communtiy leaders to move forward.
“It is up to us…”
Chatham County is home to just shy of 70,000 people. This rural county's population is spread out throughout the countryside with just 85 people per square mile. Darlene Yudell, the Director of Management and Information Systems for the county, explained the potential impact of the survey:
“It is up to us to show areas that are unserved or underserved. We also have to deal with the fact that several state regulations and laws restrict what counties can do to promote more broadband options in those areas.”
The federal data is based around Form 477. Internet service providers submit to the the Federal Communications Commission what their maximum advertised download and upload speeds are for each census block. This form, however, does not include information around pricing.
Although a census block may have high-speed Internet access, it may be unaffordable. According to the North Carolina Broadband Infrastructure Office, only 16 percent of North Carolina's population subscribe to broadband (25 Mbps/3 Mbps) speeds despite 93 percent of the state ostensibly having access to such speeds. Chatham County hopes residents will provide a more accurate picture of what is available.
If you live in Chatham County, North Carolina, we encourage you to take part in this survey.
WUNC Radio Show Explores Muni Network Restrictions in North Carolina
WUNC, a public radio station out of Chapel Hill in North Carolina, covered community owned networks and broadband availability on its recent "State of Things" midday program. I was a guest along with a local resident and a public relations executive from Time Warner Cable to discuss North Carolina's broadband compared to other states and its law that effectively bans local governments from building networks.
The discussion is good, though I certaily could have done a better job. Ultimately I thought the host did a good job of bringing in each guest to make their points, though Time Warner Cable was totally unprepared to talk about how North Carolina can expand access. Instead, they talked about the cable giant's requirements to invest in networks in rural areas.
We are going to follow up on these points but for now wanted to make sure you have a chance to listen to the show. Our coverage of the bill discussed in the radio show is available here.