Since 2016, the municipalities of Fletcher, Hendersonville and Laurel Park have been active participants in a regional initiative focused on stimulating the deployment of broadband (high speed internet) networks in Western North Carolina. WestNGN’s goal is to encourage private sector providers to deliver ultra-fast internet speeds at highly affordable prices to ensure our region remains competitive and at the forefront of developing the next-generation technology essential to all sectors of the economy. This first phase of the WestNGN initiative was led by six regional municipalities (Asheville, Hendersonville, Waynesville, Fletcher, Laurel Park and Biltmore Forest) and three universities (UNC-Asheville, Western Carolina University and N.C. State University) with support from Land of Sky Council of Governments.
The intent of the project is to highlight the conditions, assets, and collaboration of regional jurisdictions in order to gain high-speed service, greater capacity, and expanded infrastructure at competitive costs. Broadband is not necessarily the ‘leader’ for industries to locate in an area, but businesses are unwilling to locate to areas without adequate broadband. It is now considered a necessary infrastructure component for residential, business, healthcare, and educational users. These are key elements to build a competitive workforce, and to attract and retain technology- and knowledge-based businesses and entrepreneurs in the region.
The WestNGN partners have maintained open lines of communication between current internet providers AT&T, Charter and Morris Broadband. WestNGN has also started conversations with potential new provider RiverStreet Networks about expanding their broadband networks in the area. However, before RiverStreet will commit to significant broadband infrastructure improvements, they want to evaluate the desire of potential customers for an additional internet service provider in Fletcher, Hendersonville and Laurel Park.
Therefore, your local governments need citizen input regarding the necessity for expanded broadband service and would like to gather this input in two ways. First, a brief survey regarding your broadband service has been place on each municipality’s website. Over the next three weeks, we ask that citizens take time to visit www.hvlnc.gov, www.fletchernc.org or www.laurelpark.org and complete the short survey asking about your satisfaction with your current broadband service. Secondly, a citizen input meeting will be held in each community to receive feedback from citizens
regarding your current broadband service and desire for expanded service. Residents are encouraged to attend the meeting that is most convenient for you.
The meetings are scheduled as follows:
Fletcher – December 4, 2018 – 6:00 PM – Fletcher Town Hall – 300 Old Cane Creek Road, Fletcher, NC
Hendersonville – December 5, 2018 – 6:00 PM – City of Hendersonville Operations Center, 305 Williams Street, Hendersonville, NC
Laurel Park – December 5, 2018 – 10:00 AM – First Congregational Church – 1735 5th Avenue West, Laurel Park, NC
Once this input is collected, your local governments will share the information with current and potential providers to help them prioritize network improvements in our communities. It is also possible that with strong citizen participation at these local meetings the broadband providers will begin direct customer outreach and infrastructure investment.
For more information on the WestNGN project please see the following website: http://www.landofsky.org/westngnbroadband.htm
For information regarding this news release, please contact any of the following:
Mark Biberdorf – Fletcher Town Manager – (828) 687-3985
John Connet – Hendersonville City Manager – (828) 233-3201
Alison Alexander – Laurel Park Town Manager – (828) 693-4840