Tech company finishes NC rural broadband project

Tech company finishes NC rural broadband project


by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

Posted on August 12, 2013 at 6:55 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 13 at 12:21 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The computers and gadgets in your house or business could feel the effect of a big accomplishment announced Monday: the completion of a state-wide fiber broadband infrastructure stretching from Manteo to Murphy.

It's part of a $114 million project mean to provide access in rural areas, increase downloading speeds and provide more options, officials said.

Internet speed is everything to regular computer user Jeff Bogaards.

"The faster you can do it, the faster you can move on to other things and still enjoy it," he said.

But the problem in North Carolina, even in 2013, according to a federal study, is 6.4-percent of the population in the state doesn't even have broadband internet access- let alone fast service.

That number rises to 15-percent in rural areas, meaning the access Bogaards enjoys sitting outside a restaurant in Concord isn't available in rural areas.

That's why there was applause inside a building on the UNC-Charlotte campus, where dignitaries and people behind the development of the fiber line gathered for a celebration.

Dan Limerick, with RST Global Communications, the Shelby-based company that built the fiber line, says examples of how it will be used includes cities controlling street lights to save money, instant face time with kids and teachers from home, and doctors calling up patient x-rays and talking to patients at the same time on mobile devices.

"The optimum infrastructure is an all fiber infrastructure, your speeds are much higher, the maintenance is lower," Limerick said.

Connecting the state via a fiber and broadband line started back in 2009, with federal stimulus money, grants and private investments.

"We have to have broadband and technology everywhere throughout the state is we are going to rebuild the economy, especially in our rural areas of North Carolina," said Governor Pat McCrory, R-NC, via videoconference.

The first installations in homes started two weeks ago.  Experts hope it levels the playing field for all those who choose to work or play in this have to have it now world when it comes to people and their devices.

"You're always looking for the newest, better, best, whatever you can access, so I'm excited about it," Bogaards said.

Limerick says says it could cost 25-percent less than some customers are paying now for similar services, depending upon their situation.

Click here to learn more about developments near you.