It’s no secret that many rural towns across the US lack high-speed Internet options, which is where budding alternatives like 5G hubs and satellite-based ISPs come in. Facebook is now counted among the companies working to expand access to high-speed Internet services in the rural US with a new plan for a tiny county in Virginia.
Facebook says that it has teamed up with Appalachian Power and GigaBeam Networks to offer fiber Internet service to 6,000 households in Grayson County, Virginia. This rural town is, like many in the US, poorly connected to the world wide web, resulting in many people who promptly move away upon reaching adulthood.
County officials have praised the plan to offers wireless Internet and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) services in Grayson, stating that having access to high-speed connections will enable more people to find work without having to move to a bigger city elsewhere. Grayson County administrator Bill Shepley told Facebook, “The lack of access is really preventing the county and its people from participating in the modern economy.”
The upcoming Internet service, which will start rolling out in the very near future, will leverage Facebook’s fiber network, which is used to connect the company’s data centers. Facebook is building its own long fiber routes to connected data centers in North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia; the company says small local providers will have the chance to use the network’s excess capacity for getting local populations online.
Many have called on the government to expand programs intended to deliver high-speed Internet connectivity to rural and underserved regions. Internet access remains a key aspect of modern education and employment; without it, kids struggle to complete homework assignments and attend virtual classes, while adults may struggle to find viable employment.