Moving into the technology age

Published 10:39 am Saturday, October 19, 2019

If you live in, work in, or have traveled through Charlotte County, chances are you are aware of the poor cellphone service and lack of high-speed internet.

In fact, years ago, when working at the Drakes Branch office of The Charlotte Gazette, I remember quite well having to travel up Highway 47 to Jerry’s Red & White Grocery Store just to get enough signal to send or receive a call.

Things are somewhat better today; however, the county is still lacking in coverage with many dead zones throughout.

This year alone, the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors have unanimously voted on several Conditional Use Permits that will allow cellphone towers in different parts of the county and just last week supervisors voted to approve a commercial satellite station for ViaSat that will provide customers who have no other option the chance to have high-speed satellite internet.

Probably the most exciting change coming for county residents is the hope that most of the county will soon have broadband internet.

In September, supervisors heard from Riverstreet Network Business Development Manager Robert Taylor that Charlotte County was the first one on the list for construction to begin on broadband internet in 2020. Taylor told supervisors that Riverstreet, a North Carolina based company, had been awarded a grant in the amount of $6,359,724 for rural broadband in 2,567 locations to provide internet for Charlotte County residents.

The internet speeds that RiverStreet says they can provide citizens for $75 a month will be much faster than some of those living in surrounding counties. Citizens could go from having no or very slow internet connections to having blazing speeds.

With the increased cellphone towers set to go up soon and high-speed internet on the horizon Board of Supervisor members have begun to move the county into a future where technology is highly needed.

When it comes to advancing Charlotte County forward to the internet age, we commend the Board of Supervisors for a job well done.

Crystal Vandegrift is a staff reporter for The Charlotte Gazette and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Her email address is Crystal.Vandegrift@TheCharlotteGazette.com.