Internet service signups are slow

Published 7:15 pm Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Surry broadband efforts continue

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

SURRY — Surry County’s broadband company provided a report that it has 30 customers since signing on with the county about a year ago. 

SCS Broadband said its progress has been hampered by a lack of staff until receiving qualified applicants in September. 

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Other roadblocks include a lack of requests for service, according to the report dated Oct. 5 and included in the Surry Board of Supervisors agenda packet. 

“The request for service continues to be addressed with aggressive marketing,” according to the report. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

One reason for the lack of requests is that residents are locked into satellite contracts and that constraint should ease as those phase out, according to the report. 

Of the 30 customers, one is on fiber and the remainder are wireless, according to Surry County Director of Planning and Community Development Rhonda Russell. 

However, the agreement signed with the Surry Economic Development Authority does not require any number of customers as a performance benchmark, only that SCS put its equipment on the county’s tower, which it has completed. 

The company has also leased a second tower on Colonial Trail East, according to its report.

Once the company has reached 50 homes, it will lease a third commercial tower, according to the report.

SCS Broadband stated that it is advertising weekly, but the company has not advertised locally in The Smithfield Times and there was no ad in the Nov. 7 and Nov. 21 issue of the Surry Sussex Dispatch. 

Company officials did not respond to a request for comment.

The company had put out some yard signs, but since those were taken down within 24 hours, SCS stopped that advertising method, according to the report. 

According to its special offer included in the report, subscribers can receive 20 mbps for $29.95 for three months, with a three-month payment plan for the installation. 

Installation is listed as $198 in the report. 

Meanwhile, Surry County recently signed an agreement with Prince George Electric Cooperative to be part of its effort to bring fiber-based broadband to portions of the county as part of its RuralBand initiative. Surry County contributed $500,000 to the effort. 

Currently, Prince George is building the fiber backbone of the system to substations in Surry County, said Renee Chapline, vice president of communications and government affairs for PGEC. 

Surry County has been working to bring broadband to its residents for more than 10 years and the initial centerpiece of the effort was erecting a tower in the county’s industrial park.  {/mprestriction}