Ad Spot

May 12, 2021

State broadband survey could help fund local infrastructure

SALISBURY – A statewide survey is trying to identify where there is need for high speed internet.

The North Carolina Broadband Survey, an ongoing project of the N.C. Department of Information Technology’s Broadband Infrastructure Office, is trying to drive participation in the survey so it can understand the availability and quality of internet connections across the state.

The results will identify places throughout the state where broadband access is inadequate or nonexistent. The survey will help direct funding to those areas to improve service.

Broadband Infrastructure Office Executive Director Jeff Sural said the state used federal data in the past to cover some areas that were underserved. But federal data still misses out on some people who still do not have adequate service.

Sural said the federal government will accept crowd-sourced data from states to help direct funding. The state created a scaled back survey similar to this a few years ago, but it ran into issues with inaccuracies in the third-party speed test it used at the time.

Sural said it may help secure funding for a particular area if more people participate.

“It gives us more data,” Sural said. “This is just one source of data to give us a better understanding of what’s going on on the ground.”

Every county in the state has some issues. In the case of Rowan, Sural pointed to the northeastern reaches — where there are large areas which remain unserved. Survey responses so far have been confirming that.

“Just looking at the map now, there are a bunch of dots with no service or very poor service,” Sural said on a virtual call this week.

Sural said people with inadequate access are out of job opportunities, educational opportunities, civic engagement and access to health care.

He described broadband as a market-based industry. As a result, it can be a tough proposition for a private company to find solutions for fast internet to an area with too few customers to justify the cost. A number of grant programs have been put in place to offset those costs for companies.

The state’s survey is available online, but people without service can take it by phone or by accessing public internet somewhere like Rowan County Library branches.

The department wants to get to 500,000 responses to the survey. It went live last summer, but underwent troubleshooting before the department started advertising it recently. Now it is working with counties, councils of government, other stakeholder groups and media outlets to let people know it is available.

Visit ncbroadband.gov/broadband-nc/north-carolina-broadband-survey to take the survey online. The department asks people take the online survey from their homes if possible. To take the survey by phone, text or call 919-750-0553.

Comments

Crime

Two more charged for operating illegal gambling businesses

Education

A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day

Business

Rebounding, but not recovered: Rowan County tourism begins challenging path toward normalcy

High School

High school baseball: Padgett leads Mustangs; 100th win for West coach Graham

Coronavirus

RSS superintendent, Board of Health discuss strategies for increasing student vaccination rates

Nation/World

Gas stations report shortages as pipeline shutdown drags on

News

Lawyers: Black man didn’t drive into deputies who shot him

Nation/World

Liz Cheney says Trump and GOP backers threaten democracy

Coronavirus

Rowan Health Department clarifies county’s COVID-19 death total is 301

Landis

Landis approves new land development ordinance, zoning map

Landis

Landis approves body camera, stun gun purchase for public safety officers

Crime

One charged, another dead on sheriff’s most wanted list

Crime

No injuries after car shot eight times on Old Concord Road

Education

RSS talks first steps for new federal relief totaling $66 million

China Grove

Gary’s Barbecue staff, customers look back at 50 years

News

Salisbury Lions Club names Person of the Year, Lion of the Year at 78th annual banquet

Education

Student COVID-19 numbers show first decline since plan A

High School

High school golf: Fowler competes in state tournament

News

Amazon announces new distribution center for North Carolina

News

House passes bill to bar Cooper from mandating COVID shot

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees death 302 from COVID-19; Health Department to host final mass vaccine clinic

Ask Us

Ask Us: What happened to work on South Fulton Street home?

Crime

Blotter: Woman says she was shot in hand on Lincolnton Road

Crime

Rowan Sheriff’s Office charges Salisbury man with operating illegal gambling business