We talked to residents of Mount Olive, North Carolina, about their struggle to get better Internet access and the importance of connectivity for their community. Listen to our conversations above, or read a summary below.
North Carolinians are fed up with slow, expensive, and unreliable Internet access. Communities across the state are seeking solutions, but are running into barriers, especially in rural areas.
The town of Mount Olive, home to about forty-six hundred people, is one such example. Only recently, after working with local Internet service provider Open Broadband, are they getting decent Internet access for residents and local businesses.
Charles Brown, Town Manager of Mount Olive, told us about the challenges the community faced before Open Broadband came to town. Getting high quality Internet access to a regional airport located just outside of town was a priority for local leaders — it generates around $21.1 million in local economic impact — but after going to every big Internet provider in the area and reaching out to their congressional representatives, they couldn’t make it happen.
It wasn’t until Brown and other town officials reached out to local Internet provider Open Broadband that they found a path forward.
OpenBroadband was able to install towers on the town’s water tanks and connect the airport. They also worked with the town to set up free public broadband access in downtown Mount Olive — something that’s especially popular during the North Carolina Pickle Festival, which draws more than 30,000 people to the area each year.
Well, I think everybody is delighted with Main Street. We have the North Carolina Pickle Festival we hold the last weekend in April every year. So now we have the capability of having an app to show people where the pickle eating contest is or the pickle packing contest, or whatever events that are going on. They can pull up on their phone now on Main Street and know where those things are going on.
It’s not just the airport and the Pickle Festival that have benefited. Just outside Mount Olive is a local company focused on crop insurance. Owner Van Alphin Jr. described the frustration of...Read more