Broadband pilot program progress update

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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 and inside their building. Individuals can access the internet from the safety of their vehicles at all three locations and enter the Ruritan Club during their open hours. 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.