Rural communities in North Carolina struggle with broadband access in the age of COVID-19. (stock photo)

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Jeff Sural, director of the North Carolina Broadband Infrastructure Office and Dana Darden, Beaufort County parent talk with host Stephanie Carson about the issues with broadband access in many parts of the state.

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According to the North Carolina Broadband Infrastructure Office, 1.6 million families in the state cannot access or afford home internet.

On top of that 261,000 live in areas with no service providers.

It was a problem before the pandemic – but now it’s proving a real barrier as children seek education and parents try to maintain work during a global health crisis.

Gov. Roy Cooper recently announced the launch of several new initiatives that will provide service to thousands of households in rural countries. but even when providers sign on, it can take six months to two years to establish those connections.

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And users say paying for high-speed access is no guarantee that providers in North Carolina will consistently have a high-quality product that means the demands of most users, including for educational purposes.

The problems were highlighted in a recent article by Carolina Public Press.

About The Kicker

The Kicker is a production of Carolina Public Press. Send an email to thekicker@carolinapublicpress.org if you would like to contact the staff of Carolina Public Press about The Kicker.

Stephanie Carson

Stephanie Carson is the news and community partnerships manager with Carolina Public Press. Contact her at scarson@carolinapublicpress.org.

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