Broadband deployment grows in Gates County

Published 9:11 am Thursday, December 21, 2023

GATESVILLE – Efforts continue to deploy broadband internet access in Gates County.

At the Dec. 13 meeting of the county’s Board of Commissioners, they were informed by chair Dr. Althea Riddick that of the 15 counties in northeastern North Carolina, Gates County is ranked #1 in broadband deployment.

“We are almost 95 percent complete in deployment,” Riddick said. “We have a secret weapon and that’s Erna Bright. We’re at 95 percent because of his due diligence on the ground. He is someone that knows what they’re looking at and he stays on top of all things broadband.”

Riddick added that Bright is also working to make sure that the county’s anchor institutions are connected to broadband.

“Mr. Bright will be meeting with the county manager, with our IT (Information Technology) person Scott Pierce, and with the school’s IT person John Smith to make sure that all our anchor institutions – to include our schools, the fire departments, and the sheriff’s office – have access to broadband,” Riddick shared with her fellow commissioners.

“We also need to stay on top of state legislation regulating cell towers and our lack of overall cell service in our county. We are working on maps where we can see exactly where things are in the county with cell towers and broadband,” Riddick added.

Currently there are several broadband internet providers working in Gates County to deploy their services. Those providers include Spectrum, Fybe (formerly Roanoke Connect), and Brightspeed.

Spectrum recently announced the launch of Spectrum Internet, Mobile, TV and Voice services to nearly 1,000 homes and small businesses in Gates County.

“Spectrum is bringing gigabit broadband to unserved communities in North Carolina and across America through RDOF,” said Tim Williams, Vice President of Construction at Spectrum, in a press release. “Our investment is making it possible to deliver the high-value broadband, mobile, TV and voice services now available in Gates County. We are providing local residents and small businesses superior connectivity at highly competitive prices, backed by a team of skilled local technicians and 100% U.S.-based customer service.”

In a unrelated matter at the Dec. 13 meeting, the commissioners entered into a joint closed session with the county’s Board of Elections to discuss personnel. Both boards cited North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11 (a) (6), which states: “To consider the qualifications, competence, performance, character, fitness, conditions of appointment, or conditions of initial employment of an individual public officer or employee or prospective public officer or employee; or to hear or investigate a complaint, charge, or grievance by or against an individual public officer or employee.”

At the end of the closed session, the board of commissioners came back into open session, but took no action other than to adjourn the meeting.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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