Chatham County encourages residents to complete a five-minute statewide broadband survey

Pittsboro, NC – Chatham County joins the Secretary of N.C. Department of Information Technology and State Chief Information Officer Thomas Parrish in urging the public to participate in the new North Carolina Broadband Survey, recently launched by the NCDIT’s Broadband Infrastructure Office.

photo created by freepik

“Ensuring that all Chatham County residents have access to reliable internet service is our top legislative goal, and we have been working for several years to overcome obstacles including some state laws and the power of the big service providers,” said Chatham County Manager Dan LaMontagne. “This survey will help gather valuable data as county leaders continue to pursue promising broadband expansion options.”

The five-minute survey was created in collaboration with the Friday Institute at N.C. State University. The survey can be taken online for users with internet access and by phone for users without service and is available in both English and Spanish.

“Reliable internet access is crucial for getting North Carolina back on its feet so that students can learn, teachers can teach, businesses can grow and communities can connect,” said Secretary Doaks. “As communities begin to survey their citizens, we will gain a better understanding of North Carolina’s internet speeds and need, which is critical for building strategies to achieve affordable broadband access for all.”

Information gathered using the survey will be used to provide context to the state’s broadband picture, guiding funding opportunities through North Carolina’s Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) grant program, informing research and policy recommendations, and supporting strategic targeting of additional funding channels.

“Every community has different challenges and unique needs,” added Doaks. “Without the data to understand what those are, designing strategies and implementing plans to expand affordable broadband access will always be a challenge.”

This project is an extension of NCDIT’s Speed Reporting Tool, which allowed people to report whether they have internet access at their home or business and determine the speeds received at their address.

“Our office is continually looking for new ways to gather the data that will help us better understand and properly portray the real-life stories of students and families who can’t access the internet at home,” said Jeff Sural, director of the Broadband Infrastructure Office. “This survey will provide more color to areas that have only been black and white before. That information helps us guide funding strategies and infrastructure expansion efforts across the state.”

To access the online survey, visit: Residents without internet service, but with phones capable of text messaging, can text “internet” to 919-750-0553. Standard text messaging rates will apply.

Residents with land lines or cellphones that do not have texting capability, may call 919-750-0553. The interactive voice response system will guide them through a series of short questions to obtain their address and register it in the database as having no internet capability.

Governor Roy Cooper has made expanding broadband access a priority with the goal of affordable access for all North Carolinians. Executive Order 91 established a task force on connecting North Carolina to help achieve this goal. 

Correction (9.21.20 9:37 AM EDT): Tracy Doaks has not been State CIO for almost 2 months. Thomas Parrish is now the SCIO. We have corrected the mistake.

About the Broadband Infrastructure Office

The Broadband Infrastructure Office is a division of the North Carolina Department of Information Technology working to enhance affordable high-speed internet access and adoption in communities across the state. The office administers the GREAT rural broadband grant program, facilitates partnerships with broadband providers, gathers data to identify unserved areas, and provides policy and technical guidance to local and state leaders. Broadband access and adoption can enhance a community’s viability and livelihood by creating income opportunities, facilitating greater civic and cultural participation, expanding educational opportunities, and providing access to health care providers and other essential services.