BURNSVILLE — It’s like a 21st-century equivalent of a Wild West gunfight — North Carolina style.
Countywide, Yancey has the fastest Internet in the state. Hands down. No contest.
Residents there can access the web at speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second — many times faster than what most Asheville residents likely use in their houses on a daily basis.
Though standard Internet speeds start at 25 megabits per second and range up to 100 megabits per second.
“If we can get the word out, there will be people who want to come here,” said Dean Russell, a Country Cablevision project manager in Burnsville.
That goes for individuals Russell ticked off such as a professor who teaches classes remotely from Yancey County at Purdue University in Indiana to companies such as the Volkswagen plant that located to Chattanooga, Tennessee, due to the uber-fast Internet access there.
Construction of the fiber-optic cables in Yancey finished in March, Russell said. The first customers came online last year.
The $25.2 million project was funded by a federal $18.6 million stimulus grant and $6.6 million U.S. Department of Agriculture loan.
“This the first I know of any county that has countywide deployment,” said Keith Conover, a technical analyst in the state Office of Digital Infrastructure, in a statement. “It is the most significant project that I have ever dealt with. When I left Verizon after working 27 years with AT&T and then Verizon, I never saw a project this big.”
Workers are continuing to expand the network into Mitchell County. Ultimately, 1,500 miles of fiber-optic cable will exist in both counties.
“It’s wonderful,” said Wanda Proffitt, director of the Yancey County Economic Development Commission. “This has made the difference where people can live and work. If people need to do business while they’re on vacation, they can come and vacation in Yancey County and have access.”
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