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Broadband deadline missed; but efforts called 'on track'

LOUISBURG -- March and April came and went without an agreement by a vendor to provide better broadband service in Franklin County.

But, those close to the matter say bringing better connectivity to Franklin County and the region is still on track.

"Everything looks very hopeful, very positive," Assistant County Manager Kim Denton said of the negotiations taking place between Franklin, Granville and Vance county leaders, technology consultants and vendors who have proposed expanding broadband service in the region.

"We are moving in a good direction."

In the fall of 2017, all three counties, plus the Kerr-Tar Council of Governments, tabbed Wake Forest company Mighty River to help them navigate the process of finding a broadband provider and negotiating a deal between the vendor and each of the counties.

When Mighty River's Co-Founder Joe Freddoso revealed the company's plan of action in the the fall of 2018, it included expectations that they'd be ready to present each of the county's leadership boards with a proposed agreement, which would require county commission approval.

Denton said setting a hard and fast deadline could jeopardize any negotiations.

"We remain hopeful and we're working on the timeline of moving forward as rapidly as we can," Denton said.

North Carolina Broadband Partnership (NCBP), and Open Broadband are the two vendors who have proposed bringing more reliable Internet service to areas already served by the county, or extending services where such service has been scarce or non existent.

The primary difference between the two proposals is:

• NCBP would require, roughly, between $2 million and $4 million in starter fees, depending upon the county. NCBP would be making an investment of, roughly, between $2 million and $5 million, themselves, depending upon the county.

Their service packages would be the same for all three counties:

* 5 Mbps symmetrical at $65 per month;
* 10 Mbps at $85 per month;
* 25 Mbps at $110 per month;
* $99 installation/$199 for equipment;
* 24 month contract;
* Business packages at 25 percent higher.
• Open Broadband would require the county to commit to $3,000 a month before they would begin deploying service.

They have also proposed a series of wi-fi hotspots, two each in Franklinton and Louisburg, and one each in Youngsville, Bunn and the Zebulon area of the county.

Their service packages would be the same for all three counties:

* 25 Mbps at $80 a month;
* 50 Mbps at $120;
* 100 Mbps at $150;
* 200 Mbps at $225;
* 1,000 Mbps at $575

A one-time installation cost of $150 per site and a 60-month contract is a requirement.

Open Broadband would have fixed wireless with fiber backhaul, which comprises the intermediate links between the core network, or backbone network, and the small subnetworks at the edge of the network.

"We are in the negotiation phase, which means we're talking through the details," Denton said.

"But, we are all very much making progress."

It was not clear when the proposals would be presented to commissioners and the public.

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Members Opinions:
May 02, 2019 at 9:02pm
Who in their right mind is going to pay these outrageous prices? Before any new subdivisions were approved to be built in the last 5 to 10 years, the phone company should have been told if they wanted to run fiber to these new subdivisions then they had to runn it to all houses within oh a 10 mile radius, else they had to give the same service to the new homes in that subdivision as the surrounding homes had.

I can hit the houses behind me with a rock and they have fiber but because my house was built in the late 70's we are stuck with the copper lines that were here when the house was built!

Mind you I am grateful to have the 10mbps speed I have and it works well but better "deals" could have been made for some of the county when these new subdivisions were built so we could all get something. Now the phone company will never do anything for us that have copper lines because we are considered legacy customers.
May 07, 2019 at 8:07pm
I am in the gray area on this. I live in Lake Royale and have 10mbps through Century Link. Also, I can get broadband from Spectrum. However, I am fine with what I do at 10mbps.

I thought all this time that the portions of the county that did not have high speed internet are not getting 10mbps.

So, does the portion of the county not even get 10mbps or are they not getting broadband?

I don't want to pay the Spectrum price of 100mbps as I don't need it.

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