Broadband pilot program progress update

bridging the digital divide-pemc

July 2021 – Broadband available in Person County

Person County

A wireless internet expansion project is under way in Person County as the result of RiverStreet Networks acquiring NC Lightleap in 2020. NC Lightleap was selected by Person County in their earlier efforts to develop a network solution with the buildout of communication towers.

RiverStreet Networks will offer service in large portions of Person County with overlap in parts of Caswell, Durham, Granville and Orange counties in North Carolina and Halifax County in Virginia. The green areas on the map below show the areas potentially available for service.

RiverStreet Networks Person County Map

In an effort to express your interest and get on the list, let your voice be heard by visiting Join.BuildPiedmont.com today! RiverStreet Networks representatives will follow up with you when the service is available in your area.

Caswell County

We are pleased to announce that funding coupled with interest from members in Caswell County has resulted in the future buildout of a wireless network to 2,918 households and businesses in Caswell County. This is made possible by funding awarded to RiverStreet Networks from the NC GREAT Grant Program in the amount of $1.5 million. RiverStreet Networks will provide the match for this project of $1.1 million. Stay tuned for further updates on the progress in Caswell County in future Carolina Country magazines.

While these projects will take time to complete, Piedmont Electric and RiverStreet are committed to bringing a better internet solution to those who need and want it.

March 2021 – Broadband pilot program continues to make progress

Piedmont Electric and RiverStreet Networks launched a broadband pilot program survey in December 2019 to gauge interest to determine if a reliable, affordable internet service could be supported in the unserved and underserved areas of our communities. Many of you have indicated interest by signing up at join.buildpiedmont.com.

While this information was being collected, there was funding sought from county, state, and federal programs. We are pleased to announce that funding coupled with interest from members in Caswell County has resulted in the future buildout of a wireless solution to 2,918 households and businesses in the Caswell area. More information about the Caswell County award can be found on our website.

There is also a wireless internet expansion project underway in Person County as the result of RiverStreet Networks acquiring NC Lightleap in 2020. NC Lightleap had been selected by Person County in their earlier efforts to develop a network solution with the buildout of communication towers. Piedmont Electric and RiverStreet Networks are currently working out the details of our agreement and hope to have information, including timelines, to share in the near future.

While these projects will take time to complete, Piedmont Electric and RiverStreet are committed to bringing a better internet solution to those who need and want it.

We are still gauging interest from our members express your interest today!

Watch for future updates about these projects as details become available.

 

November 2020 – Free WiFi hotspot locations announced

Since Piedmont Electric and RiverStreet Networks announced the launch of their broadband pilot program in December 2019, we are 50 percent towards our goal of members expressing an interest in a better internet service (as of Oct. 30).

While long-term internet solutions are being researched, Piedmont Electric and RiverStreet Networks have worked together to provide free WiFi hotspots in rural communities where broadband internet service can be unreliable or expensive.

Currently, Piedmont Electric’s branch offices in Person and Caswell County offer free WiFi hotspots, and thanks to the Cherry Grove Ruritan Club in Reidsville, NC, a new site is being set up at their parking lot. Individuals can access the internet from the safety of their vehicles at all three locations. The free access name is PEMC-Free-WiFi at all locations.

In addition to the short-term WiFi hotspot solution, Piedmont Electric and RiverStreet Networks are preparing for the next stage of the broadband pilot program by researching state, regional and federal funding opportunities. Depending on funding and level of interest, the next stage will be planning the installation of high-speed wireless internet service or fiber to the home where financially viable.

Remember, the more people who express a need for a better internet option in their area, the sooner RiverStreet Networks can support the business case to begin preparing broadband deployment. This is a grassroots effort and will require everyone spreading the word. You do not have to be a Piedmont Electric member to let your voice be heard.

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August 2020 – Broadband pilot program continues to make progress

Since Piedmont Electric and RiverStreet Networks announced the launch of their broadband pilot program in December, we are 44 percent towards our goal of members expressing an interest in a better internet service (as of August).

A lot has changed during the past nine months. A global pandemic has made reliable, affordable internet service more important now than ever. Our students are learning through distance education, our members are working from home, patients are using telemedicine and friends and families are keeping in touch through video chats.

During that time, both Piedmont Electric and RiverStreet have been hard at work to bring a sustainable, long-term internet solution to the unserved and underserved members of our communities.

Currently, we are looking at the placement of hotspots to give our members viable options while a long-term solution is found. RiverStreet and Piedmont Electric are engaged in conversations with local officials and are reviewing state, regional and federal funding opportunities. This is occurring while you share with us your interest in a reliable and improved broadband option.

This is a grassroots effort and will require everyone spreading the word. Remember, you do not have to be a Piedmont Electric member to let your voice be heard.