Why there is NO Broadband Internet for Mecklenburg County

Posted in the Chase City Forum

Rural WISP

Appomattox, VA

#1 Jul 21, 2009
We asked the Office of Economic Development for Mecklenburg County why we could not get any assistance from them or the County Board, et al.
Here's the response we got:
On Thu, Jul 16, 2009 at 09:45, Angie Kellett <angie.kellett@mecklenburgv a.com> wrote:
I was told by the Planning Commission that a 501 (c)(12) company, which is a non-profit, has developed a plan for the entire planning district for deployment. They are applying for a variety of funding. In fact this company will cover 15 counties. This plan has been in the works for over a year and one application for funding will be submitted next week and another in about 30 days. Therefore there is no need for the County to get involved at this point.
Angie D. Kellett, Director
Mecklenburg County
Office of Economic Development
Rural WISP

Appomattox, VA

#2 Jul 21, 2009
Part 1 Here's the real story and our answer:
Your reply shows an extreme lack of knowledge of the broadband internet technology and the County residents' desire to have some choices above substandard dialup and satellite broadband. This lack of knowledge or perhaps motivation has been displayed by your office, Southside Planning and the County Board of Supervisors. Let's be upfront about the big mystery, the company you wish not to identify is clearly Buggs Island Telephone. We are well aware of them receiving FCC licensing in 15 counties.
Yes, they do have the license for the 700Mhz frequency. However, that does not mean they can provide 100% coverage to all areas of all 15 counties. The technology they plan to use has the same effective coverage radius as our current 900MHz operations. However, the new equipment Buggs.net is planning on using is still in it's design infancy and at present there is only one manufacturer of 700 equipment. Buggs.net has no past experience with wireless broadband at present, except for a brief "experiment" that ended in removing it. This is not to say they can't do the job, but putting all your trust in just one provider is unwise when there are 2 small business operators already serving Mecklenburg County. These businesses grew out of a similar story by the County Supervisors years ago. "Don't worry, Verizon will provide broadband to our entire area". You know first hand that has not happened. Why aren't incumbent broadband providers extended ANY opportunity to expand our coverage?
If you look around you, there is an entire generation of young people that have broadband internet access at school, but none at home. They are very internet savvy and also understand that having only one source for broadband service is not in the best interest of wise consumers. Either you gladly accept that children are off the internet at home for the summer & after school or you and the County are willingly ignoring the growing demand of the people who have kids. Regardless of age, the internet is already expected by the school system, small business and even government agencies like DMV. All of you fail to realize there is no opportunity to develop any enriched education, diverse prosperity and economic attraction if this continues to be the policy in this County.
Rural WISP

Appomattox, VA

#3 Jul 21, 2009
Part 2
- Would you settle or live in an area with just one cellular service or one phone service company? I doubt it.
- Would you stay in an area with no forward thinking when it comes to telecom/IT policy? Growing numbers are NOT.
Your reply also shows that your office and the County have no interest in supporting existing small business within the County to meet common sense economic expansion. The main thrust of the State Broadband Initiative was to work with existing companies in partnerships. This apparently is something the county does not want or does not care to understand.
The complacent attitude of your reply and our past attempts to partner with the County are a prime example of one of the main reasons businesses avoid this county. Consider that EDS had to import 80% of its' IT personnel to staff the Clarksville location. It clearly shows the lack of qualified IT labor in the County. You add the fact that an overall majority commute from North Carolina because they would not buy a home where there was no broadband & that might make a pragmatic leadership reconsider its' policies. Perhaps someday the county will move into the 21st century and actually listen to willing business partners. We are the only County in our State Senate District that doesn't have a basic functional website. Maybe someone noticed, but I doubt it. On the "County" website Transportation lists Huss Trucking and they have been closed for over 2 years! I would suggest that you check some of the surrounding Counties to see what their websites offer! The current Mecklenburg County website is so outdated and pointless, it's a pathetic embarrassment, not an attraction. Meanwhile the County will continue to have numerous empty "Industrial Parks" and failed bids to develop revenue throughout the county. Do you, or Mr. Carter, or other Board members wonder why businesses aren't interested in locating or staying here?
Mr. Crosby and myself would have liked an opportunity to meet and discuss County Broadband policy. We were never offered a fair chance, or any chance, even after making numerous requests in good faith. I have to assume you and Mr. Carter think we take this treatment lightly and won't educate the public about "Why can't you provide us broadband service here"?
Once educated with the truth, How long do you think residents will remain silent due to your collective broadband apathy & ignorance?
PMT from Clks

Chapel Hill, NC

#4 Aug 20, 2009
Growing up in a small community, you realize that you are in fact living in a time warp. The more things change [anywhere but Southside], the more they are the same [as they have always been in Southside].

It doesn't matter who complains or questions the powers that be. Got to get out with the old and in with the new. Unfortunately new bloods in a small town, tend to hold the same opinions as their older counterparts. They like the small town community feel and the control that comes with that responsibility.

Good luck with your quest.
Will Berry

South Hill, VA

#6 Apr 27, 2012
This is so true. I live in Union Level and would love to purchase anything but dial-up. My 14 year old has a great laptop that the school system provided but alas he cant use it at home because we cant get the wireless cards the school system was to provide and we dont have home internet because Satellite internet is too expensive and dial up is too frustrating. Thank you Board of Supervisors for caring so much!

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