To date in Haywood, there have been 866 responses to the broadband survey being conducted by the N.C. Department of Information Technology.
Of those, nearly 51% or 425 responders, had access to internet. Just 52 responders, 6%, did not have access to cellular service.
The primary reasons for not having internet included the following: Not available, 71%; other, 15%; too expensive, 10%; no answer, 4%
By taking the survey, the technology is able to assess the broadband speed. Minimum service standards are 25 megabits for downstream capacity from the Internet to the user’s computer and 3 megabits of upstream capability from the user’s computer to the Internet.
In the Haywood survey, only 81 responders had capabilities below the minimum standard.
County estimates of the number of residents who are at a disadvantage because of poor broadband service are much higher.
For instance, Haywood County Schools say 20% of their 7,000 students were unable to participate in the remote learning programs because of the issue, and an early grant proposal identified nearly 1,500 households in need of the service.
County leaders say the key to expanding access is better data and encourage all to participate in the state survey from all the device locations they use.
The best way to improve broadband service, said Deborah Porto, chairman of the county’s broadband committee, is to complete a survey being conducted by the N.C. Department of Information Technology.
Every household and business in the state being asked to take the broadband survey from their home device where the actual service speed can be recorded.
Take the survey here.
To report locations without internet service, participants can take the survey by phone or text. Call 919-750-0553 to reach an interactive voice response system that guides callers through a series of short questions to obtain the caller’s address and register it in the database as having no internet capability at all. Residents without internet service but with phones capable of text messaging can text “internet” to 919-750-0553.