09/19/13 — County seeks help to get technology in Seven Springs

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County seeks help to get technology in Seven Springs

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 19, 2013 1:46 PM

Wayne County commissioners have made good on a promise to Seven Springs Town Board members to look into why high-speed Internet and cable TV are not available in their community.

Commissioners asked that question of Time Warner Cable official Eric Collins, who was at the commissioners' Tuesday meeting to talk about how digital updates would affect local access channels.

The cable stops about a mile north of the Neuse River Bridge, and to the west, it stops just past Spring Creek High School.

Collins said he did not know the answer, but that normally the company requires a certain number of residences per mile to extend cable because of the high expense of running lines.

The lack of high-speed Internet access is one of the problems hurting the town's ability to attract economic development, Seven Springs board members told commissioners at a joint meeting last week.

"It seems like one of the main things that everybody complains to me about, one of the reasons we have not been able to attract younger people and businesses is we have no information technology infrastructure at all," Mayor Alan Cash said. "If you want Internet down here they have to pipe it in on satellite or something.

"We have no cable (TV), no Internet and the phone lines are terrible. So anytime we ask about a business coming down here, if somebody is interested in renting one of our properties -- when we tell them we don't have high-speed Internet that knocks us right out."

It is difficult to attract young people, much less a business when a town cannot offer high-speed Internet or cable TV, he said.

The now-closed library had been the town's only source of broadband.

"They have no service at all," Commissioner John Bell said.

County Manager Lee Smith asked Collins also to look at the Indian Springs community. Time Warner has looked at both areas in the past, but there has been no action, he said.

However, since that time there have been some changes, Smith said.

"It comes right up to the bridge and stops and Seven Springs is right on the other side of the bridge," Bell pointed out.

Because of the potential for economic growth that high-speed Internet might spur, the company should consider looking at the future instead of the present, Commissioner Ray Mayo said.

"Sometime we may have to invest something upfront to gain something in the future," Mayo said.

Seven Springs and the surrounding area have a lot of history, Commissioner Joe Daughtery said. Also, it is continuing efforts to rebuild from the devastating flooding caused by Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

"But yet they are locked into a situation of seeing the opportunity of their future right across the bridge where it terminates with Time Warner when all it has to do is be bought across the bridge," he said. "They have had people who have actually gone in to look at developing, but, because of no broadband service, would not build or come to Seven Springs."