Elon Musk’s Starlink internet brings broadband to remote, rural NC

  • Researchers are testing several wireless internet technologies in remote areas of North Carolina.
  • The new services are bringing broadband to places that traditional internet vendors rejected.
  • The cost of Starlink — $499 up front plus $99 per month — could be too high for some families.

Former professional wrestler Reby Hardy and other people who live or have businesses in remote or rural parts of North Carolina have had a problem for years: Limited or no access to high-speed internet connections in a 21st-century society and business world that demands it.

That is starting to change.

New technologies in development promise to bring broadband speeds to remote and sparsely populated communities. Traditional internet service providers, such as cable and telecommunications companies, have long eschewed these potential customers due to the cost of extending their infrastructure to them.

Further, North Carolina law has prevented city and county governments from trying to fill the gap the private sector refused to address.

“If nothing else, the COVID pandemic has showed us that broadband is not merely a service. It should be viewed as infrastructure,” said Republican state Rep. John Szoka of Cumberland County. When the schools closed and shifted to remote learning online in spring 2020 because of the crisis, many children were left without any way to attend school, he said.

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