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Rural Areas Struggle To Find Internet Providers

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Because of the area Sprinkle lives in, her choices are limited, she said.

“We’re in the middle of 300 acres. All my neighbors are four-legged,” Sprinkle said with a laugh.

She signed up for Freedom Wireless Broadband, which serves rural areas in Carroll by creating a wireless hub at 35 different sites around the county. The network equipment sits on top of grainelevators and barns and windmills, Hall said. The hub can connect a network of people, instead of simply serving one customer.

“They call it a grain elevator, we call it a communications tower,” Hall said.

Freedom Wireless Broadband services areas of Md. 26, Sullivan Valley, Gamber, Deer Park, Manchester, Hampstead, Lineboro, Finksburg, Mount Airy and areas of Frederick County. The sites link back together and into Eldersburg where the service comes from, Hall said. Eldersburg has a connection to Baltimore, where broadband flows into the county, Hall said.

In late 2011, the Federal Communications Commission began the Connect America Fund, a national program to modernize its subsidy program for rural telephone service and enable it to expand broadband access in rural areas. The Connect America Fund helps subsidize broadband or phone service in rural areas where providing service can be costly for companies.

Areas aren’t categorized rural just because there is a farm in the backyard though. It depends on whether the local phone company, which is Verizon, in the case of Carroll County, is known as a rural local exchange carrier, according to Mark Wigfield, spokesman for the FCC.

A cost model will calculate the appropriate subsidy down to the census block level, for the cost of providing phone and broadband to a local area. Verizon would then accept the subsidy or decline it.

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Posted by FanningCommunications on Apr 1st, 2013 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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