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North Carolina Broadband Bill to Help Rural Areas

Published by News 13 WLOS on May 31, 2019

By Rex Hodge

SWAIN COUNTY, N.C.--Getting broadband to rural areas like our mountains takes a big step forward in Raleigh.

The House signed off on a Senate bill that facilitates high speed internet access through electric cooperatives' infrastructure.That would mean quicker internet speeds for places like Darnell Farms in Swain county.

The family-run farm outside Bryson City says it relies a great deal on advertising on social media and its website.Family members say a faster internet will increase their profits.

“It's going to allow farms like us that are really, really based around agri-tourism to share and to really accommodate more business, which means a better bottom line and we build bigger and get bigger,” says Nate Darnell.

The governor is expected to sign the bill.Representative Joe Sam Queen, who represents mountain counties, including Swain, says fast internet service is vital to education, health care, and farming.

“The key to their marketing is the internet,” says Queen. “Queen is backing another broadband bill too.“We have another one pending that's very important for cities and counties to be able to partner if their citizens and constituents are being under-served,” he says.

Queen says lawmakers placed 10 million dollars in grant money for rural broadband in the budget last session. He says they're looking to triple that in the next budget.

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