Federal grant gives rural North Carolina communities faster internet through broadband provider

YadTel will use the grant awarded to it Oct. 26 to provide fiber optic cable to 10 areas within its service area. Yadkin, Iredell and Davie counties can benefit from faster internet with this grant.

Courtesy of Yadtel

YadTel will use the grant awarded to it Oct. 26 to provide fiber optic cable to 10 areas within its service area. Yadkin, Iredell and Davie counties can benefit from faster internet with this grant.

Ethan Hunt, News Editor

Areas of Yadkin, Iredell and Davie counties will receive better internet-capability through a $2.3 million dollar grant awarded to YadTel, a rural North Carolina broadband fiber internet provider. 

According to Pew Research Center, 24% of rural Americans say that a major problem in their community is limited access to broadband internet: high-speed internet that supports multiple signals and traffic types. App State students benefiting from the upgrades agree.

“My internet takes forever,” said senior John Gilbert, a resident of Iredell County. “When there are multiple devices being used at once, it gets very slow, and we have to ration out the time.” 

YadTel will use the grant from congress, awarded on Oct. 26, to provide fiber optic cable to 10 areas in its service area. The United States Department of Agriculture selected the areas because they do not meet the Federal Communication Commission minimum connectivity standard of 10 mb download and 1mb upload speeds, according to a news release from YadTel. 

Under President Donald Trump, the United States Department of Agriculture has been attempting to remedy internet connectivity problems some North Carolinians encounter. 

“Access to high-speed internet is a cornerstone of prosperity, and unfortunately many of America’s rural communities lack access to this critical infrastructure,” said Bette Brand, USDA deputy under secretary for Rural Development. “Connecting America’s rural communities to this essential infrastructure is one of USDA’s top priorities, because we know that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

Congress passed a bill in March 2018 giving the USDA $600 million to use in the Reconnect program, which provides broadband infrastructure to rural areas. This April, congress gave the Reconnect program an additional $100 million. Yadtel received the $2.3 million as part of the second round of funding, according to the USDA.

Along with installing broadband connections for unserved areas, YadTel is asking North Carolina representatives to change the minimum requirement for internet connectivity

According to YadTel’s press release, millions of Americans are stuck on DSL, an older internet connection method that uses phone lines and is too slow to do most activities associated with working and learning online. But, those same Americans meet the federal requirement of the 10/1 Mbps threshold. YadTel wants to see the minimum requirement changed to a 50mb-per second download and 50mb-per second upload speed, according to their press release. 

 “They are excluded, although many of these families are limited in their ability to Zoom, work from home, learn from home or engage in telehealth,” according to YadTel’s press release. 

“I think faster internet would help a lot of people with news and jobs. Especially with a majority of jobs being moved online, it would help local government meetings and a lot employees,” said Gilbert, Iredell County resident. 

YadTel expects to begin construction January 2021 following environmental approval from the North Carolina State Historic Preservation office, according to Butch Mabry, YadTel risk and compliance manager.