High speed internet to reach parts of rural North Carolina

Randy Brown installs wireless internet on grain bin in Duplin County to provide high-speed wireless to homes and businesses within a five-mile radius. Courtesy: Eastern Carolinas Broadband

PINK HILL, N.C.  – It has been years of waiting but taxpayers in rural Duplin County will soon be saying goodbye to dial up and hello to high-speed internet. While dial up internet seems a distant memory to many of us, up until now it has been a frustrating reality in the homes, schools and businesses in Duplin. An estimated 12,000 residents have been living without internet altogether, according to a survey conducted by the Duplin County Government earlier this year.

These survey results were presented to existing providers who said that the area did not have the population density to justify fiber optic cables.

Susan Myers, co-founder of Eastern Carolinas Broadband says that lack of access to high-speed internet, isn’t just inconvenient, it can impact learning for students. She says the new high-speed internet will help local schools in Duplin County.

“Rural areas tend to be the very last to benefit from the development of any new technology,” said Myers.

Last week, the Duplin County Board of Commissioners granted approval for ECB to move forward in building out the “fixed wireless” infrastructure to support wireless internet for the county. Compared to cable or DSL, fixed wireless does not depend on running wire, cable or fiber to each home. Instead it uses radio signals, much like cell phone or TV transmissions, but in a different frequency range.

This allows customers who are spread out geographically to access the signal, using a small antenna at the home capable of handling music, videos and large downloads. Unlike satellite internet, fixed wireless only has to travel a short distance between the customer and the transmitting tower.

ECB’s future plans are to partner with more towns and counties across the east to mount antennas on water towers to serve the surrounding areas.

“Our rural community cannot wait five years for high speed internet. We need it now. We started Eastern Carolina Broadband so that our schoolchildren and farmers do not fall behind,” said Myers, who lives and works in rural Duplin County.

Eastern Carolina Broadband will begin offering high speed internet services in Duplin County beginning January 1, 2018. High speed fixed wireless internet will start at $59 dollars per month. That price includes 25 mb down with no caps on data.