Spectrum expands internet service in rural West Rowan County – Salisbury Post

SALISBURY — Spectrum on Tuesday announced an expansion of its broadband Internet services to include several hundred new homes and small businesses in western Rowan County.

The company says it built its fiber optic lines near Cleveland and Mount Ulla to serve 270 customers on Amity Hill, Childers, Mount Tabor Church, Ketchie, Hall and Joe Rankin Roads. These customers will now have access to Spectrum’s high-speed Internet. These customers will have access to the company’s Internet, mobile, TV and voice services.

“Our commitment helps deliver the high-value broadband, mobile, TV and voice services now available in Rowan County,” said Jonathan Holt, vice president of construction at Spectrum, in a press release. “We provide superior connectivity to local residents and small businesses at very competitive prices, backed by an organization committed to craftsmanship and service.”

Cleveland Mayor Pat Phifer said he was happy to hear that another internet option is being made available to residents of the city, as there is a “terrible need” in the area for broadband. Phifer said he would like to see more Internet options established northwest of the city.

Spectrum, formerly Charter Communications, is currently investing several billion dollars to expand its network into rural communities across the country. The company’s efforts are supported by $1.2 billion in funding from the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, a $20.4 billion fund established in 2019 to bring fixed broadband service to rural homes. and small businesses that lack it.

Spectrum estimates its expansion will provide broadband access to approximately one million customers in 24 states over the next few years.

Spectrum’s network expansion project in Rowan County began late last year and will continue over the next few months, according to a company spokesperson.

For customers in its new build area, the company says it offers starting speeds of 200 Mbps (megabits per second), with its “ultra” internet offering download speeds of 400 Mbps. For small and medium businesses, Spectrum Business Internet offers download speeds of 200 Mbps, 600 Mbps, and 1 Gbps. More information about Spectrum’s services is available at spectrumruralexpansion.com.

The company is one of several internet service providers that have expanded or plan to expand broadband to rural areas of Rowan County.

Open Broadband now offers its Internet services in Rowan County after a years-long effort to establish broadband infrastructure. Randy Cress, Rowan County’s chief information officer, said Open Broadband is currently working to get waitlisted customers online. Open Broadband uses a fixed wireless system to transmit radio signals through antennas from towers directly to a receiver in a customer’s home, as opposed to fiber cables.

Zirrus, formerly known as Yadtel, plans to expand its services to northwest and southeast Rowan County. In March, the Rowan County Board of Commissioners pledged to provide the company with up to $1.98 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to encourage its expansion, provided that Zirrus receives a state GREAT (Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology) grant.

Spectrum, OpenBroadband, and Conterra Networks are considering applying for GREAT grants. Those businesses will also seek a commitment from commissioners for matching funds, but Cress said the county will only distribute $1.98 million in total, even if several businesses are selected to receive a BIG state grant. The commissioners will consider those requests at their Monday meeting at 3 p.m. at the Rowan County Administration Building.

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