Creating an internet based economy in Chatham County

By Carol Phillips

Chatham County, NC – I was glad to read that Tarus Balog has interesting ideas to create an internet based economy in Chatham and to build upon the arts and craft community in Siler City.  I’m hopeful that Balog realizes that educational opportunities must also be included in the plan so that all residents in Chatham have a chance to participate.

As a beginning, Randolph Electric is thinking about running fiber internet in Silk Hope and our state Senator, Virginia Foushee, has sponsored a bill to allow counties to to provide internet access. It has passed the first reading in both the House and Senate and is currently in committee. Maybe something will come of it.

SENATE BILL 208 (H390): AN ACT AUTHORIZING COUNTIES TO PROVIDE HIGH SPEED INTERNET ACCESS SERVICE AS A PUBLIC ENTERPRISE. ‘A county may provide infrastructure, including, but not limited to, conduit, fiber optic cable, and fiber optic wire, for the purpose of expanding high speed Internet access service in unserved areas of the county to promote and encourage economic development in the county. The county may lease the infrastructure to unaffiliated, qualified private providers of high speed Internet access service. Any lease contracts under this section shall comply with the provisions of Article 8 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes and shall be awarded on a technology neutral basis. The county shall use only unrestricted general fund revenue to provide the infrastructure. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit a county to provide Internet service.’