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Update Given On Alexander County Broadband Expansion

Alexander County’s broadband expansion project with Open Broadband LLC continues to progress, although there have been a few issues along the way. Dave McCracken, Open Broadband’s Western Regional Manager, presented an update to the Alexander County Board of Commissioners at Monday’s (October 3) meeting.

McCracken said his crew is on track to install equipment on a tower off Thomas Lane in Stony Point in the next couple of weeks, with plans to branch out with additional hubs in northeastern parts of the county. Unfortunately, the Moore Mountain tower, which was the final part of phase one of the expansion project, has been deemed unstable.

Randy Bentley, who lives in the Mt. Olive Church Road area, spoke during the public comment period, expressing his displeasure with the lack of broadband at his home after being told that he would be served. Bentley said he even cut eight trees to improve the line of sight to the Moore Mountain tower, but now the tower is unusable.

McCracken said the company is working on an agreement to install equipment on a tower on Pores Knob in Wilkes County, which would serve the Mt. Olive Church Road area as well as parts of the Vashti community. He said his crew is installing new equipment on the Ellendale tower, off Willie McLeod Road, which will provide non-line-of-sight broadband service to many more residents, extending into the Lambert Fork Road and Dover Church Road areas.

Since the project began, Open Broadband has provided service to 300 customers, with plans to add 50-75 more customers in the next couple of months. He estimated that the company has coverage of 40-50 percent of the county, with hopes of reaching 80 percent coverage in 2023.

Commission Vice Chairman Marty Pennell expressed his concerns with the project, especially the problems with the Moore Mountain and Thomas Lane towers. McCracken agreed with Commissioner Pennell, noting that he just became the project manager in April.

[Story courtesy of Rick Gilbert, WACB]