Rural areas aim for expanded internet service

ASHEBORO — If the need arises and enough interest is generated, Randolph Communications will respond.

That’s the message from the telephone cooperative when it comes to providing fiber optics and expanded internet service.

“Once we see a high enough interest to make a business commitment, we will try to go to certain areas,” said Stephanie Gee, marketing director for Randolph Communications. “The need is widespread.”

The Asheboro-based group, which also has an office in Liberty, is looking for opportunities to increase its footprint, Gee said.  Randolph Communications serves parts of eight counties.

The key tends to come from community members who gather enough support to warrant expansion.

“It takes champions in areas,” Gee said. “It’s folks in a neighborhood, that’s what it takes. It helps us to determine future build-out areas. We try to meet those needs.”

Citizens interested in fiber optics coming to their areas are encouraged to visit the website That site explains the perks of faster download and upload speeds.

On that web page, there’s an option on the site that allows a house number and zip code to be submitted for consideration as the company gages interest from various areas.

There’s also a disclaimer that “Completing an interest form does not guarantee we will bring service to your area.”

Residents in the Moore Road area have began a campaign to bring upgraded fiber optic cable service to their neighborhoods.

A flyer circulate from residents indicates: “We need as many as possible to sign up so they will know that we are interested. This will be our only option for higher speed internet.”

Gee said the grassroots approach can be effective.

“We have not committed to run fiber optics to this area,” Gee said. “People are trying to drum up interest, which is great.”

Gee said she works with groups who are seeking to bolster the service.

Additionally, grand funding for some form of expansion could be available. That’s something that Randolph Communications has explored. Gee said some of the decisions for grants might not be determined until autumn.

By Bob Sutton