GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — A new bill filed by District 9 State Rep. Brian Farkas is seeking to increase broadband speeds across the state.
It’s called the Broadband Modernization Act, and Farkas said it’s an initiative to remove outdated barriers, which he said are holding back internet speeds across the state necessary in today’s world, and Pitt County as well as Pitt County Schools, say they support the bill.
“It tweaks definitions within our broadband, general statutes right now. And just these minor tweaks just really opened the door to a lot more funding,” said Farkas.
He explained this would bring the county’s rural areas the broadband speeds they need for some families left unserved with proper internet connections to even complete their homework.
“25-3, which is the download upload speed, that’s the current standard just isn’t adequate in today’s modern times. You can’t hop on a Zoom-in, some of our rural areas with that kind of speed,” said Farkas.
He said this bill would eventually up that standard from 25-3 to 100-20 statewide. Pitt County officials said they support the effort.
“I mean, broadband has just become one of the basic necessities. And I feel like we are finally on a path with sufficient funds to truly make a difference in Pitt County. So that’s exciting,” said County Manager Janis Gallagher.
She said while the bill would help the whole state, it would especially help Pitt County with some of its unique broadband challenges.
“We have so much distance to cover to get to the next home. So for Pitt County in particular, it’s going to take more time, more money, more equipment, to reach the folks that we need to reach,” said Gallagher.
Pitt County Schools is all for the bill and believe it would help provide equal education opportunities to all.
“This is a good bill that’s going to help even the playing field for all families and what they feel is best for their child as far as education is concerned,” said Director of Digital Learning for Pitt County Schools, Tim DeCresie.
“We need to update it and establish it, and when it comes to education, no child is left behind,” added Farkas.
Among recent school safety concerns, Pitt County Schools added that virtual learning may become a more popular request from parents, increasing the need for proper broadband infrastructure.