Even in 2020 its News When High-Speed Internet Arrives in a Small Town

Published on August 29, 2020
Image Credit: [Pixabay/Goumbik]

NORTH CAROLINA — The locals in Stokes County are all too familiar with the ongoing struggle for high-speed internet.

Tabatha Points, a Stokes County resident said, ‘I know with COVID-19 going on and virtual learning, some families are having to pack up their kids and go to free hotspots just so their kids can do their school work.’

With no access to high-speed internet, its hard enough to do anything at all on the internet. Now, though, with this virus going around, even normal life is difficult. With her husband working from and her children needing to attend school online, things can be tough on a slow connection. If she wants to get high speed internet, her only option other than paying a large sum for a mile-long cable run is satellite internet. Satellite internet comes along with data caps and expensive monthly payments when compared to transfer rates.

Her local cable company gave her a quote of $100,000 to run the cable. That’s one hell of an installation fee.

Things are changing, though. A local company is going to beam high-speed Wi-Fi from the peak of Sauratown Mountain to local communities

Todd Lankford, a long-time ‘Stokes WiFi’ employee said, ‘This is the most cost-effective way to bring high-speed internet to the county. It’s strictly a line of sight right now but we are working on getting some more towers put up.’

The small ISP can currently connect any that is up to 15 miles away from the tower they have on the mountain. Stokes WiFi does, however, aim to expand beyond that.

Its Hard To Get High Speed Internet Access In Stoke County

Andy Nickelston, the county commissioner said that the county had tried to get high speed out to the rural areas. They spent almost $2 million dollars to help pay for the extension of current fiber infrastructure to more county residents, but very little has actually happened in that regard.

He said, ‘We aren’t waiting around for grants, that’s why we are paying for it out of our own pocket.’

The county commissioner is partnering with business owners and putting around $650,000 into Stokes WiFi to help them expand high speed quickly via Microwave up-link.

Stokes WiFi has made it clear that their interests lie in getting everyone in the area online rather than trying to compete with other businesses.

Over the course of about a year, the company aims to have more towers put up throughout the county. They might even expand into neighboring communities and then even further into southern Virginia.

The cost for unlimited service is expected to be around $60 monthly. Visit stokeswifi.com to learn more. This service, of course, will become totally obsolete when Elon Musk’s Starlink comes to the area.

Featured Image Credit: [Pixabay/Goumbik]

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