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County selects Open Broadband LLC to expand internet access

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Granville County has joined neighboring Vance and Franklin counties, through an initiative of the Kerr-Tar Council of Governments, to improve internet connectivity and availability issues throughout the county.

In June, the Granville County Board of Commissioners approved a seven-year contract with Open Broadband LLC to expand services of fixed-wireless broadband internet service into unserved and underserved areas of the county.

“Applying for jobs, access to medical records, access to student coursework and online banking all require good internet infrastructure,” said Open Broadband CEO Alan Fitzpatrick. “Affordable internet options also help address the ‘digital divide.’ We believe everyone should have access to home broadband internet service.”

In August 2018, the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments led a joint broadband enhancement Request for Proposal for the tri-county region, with each county to implement its own contract and strategy. In Granville County, the installment process will begin in the northwest portion, which is currently the most unserved area. The county is currently in the planning and research phase of how the wireless routers will be placed. As the service expands, more areas will be selected to be included as deployment continues.

“During the RFP process, we identified sectors of the county where broadband is in most demand,” County Manager Mike Felts said. “Over the course of this project, we will be addressing the entire county, but want to make sure we’re starting in areas that are currently unserved, so that everyone will have access to high-speed internet.”

Open Broadband is now accepting waitlist signups for enhanced services that range from 25 to 50 Mbps speeds. In certain areas, 100 to 1,000 Mbps speeds can be offered. Those on the waitlist will receive regular updates on the progress of the network build and will be contacted once service is made available in their area.

Granville County residents interested in being included on the waitlist should visit the Open Broadband website at https://openbb.net/granvilleco/ or call 919-205-5400, if internet access is not available. Those interested in this initiative are also encouraged to attend a series of community information meetings, which are now being scheduled. The first meeting will be held Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. with a location to be determined. More information about these meetings will be announced when available and can be found at http://www.granvillecounty.org/government/county-commissioners/broadband-initiative/.

Open Broadband’s customer support service is based in Wilson.

“We are pleased to be awarded the contract with Granville County to bring service to those in need,” said Fitzpatrick.

For more details about the project, contact Charla Duncan, management analyst, at 919-693-5240 or charla.duncan@granvillecounty.org.

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