The committee will be tasked with developing a county initiative focused on stimulating the deployment of broadband networks throughout the county and assist the underserved and unserved areas of Swain in obtaining affordable internet connectivity.
Swain County residents have had a hard time getting new internet service from local providers because the existing broadband infrastructure is maxed out. Providers haven’t been constructing new towers because the infrastructure is too expensive to only serve a small and spread out population in Swain. It just isn’t worth the investment — but it’s a problem many of the Western North Carolina counties are dealing with at the moment.
“High-speed internet is something we all need in our homes but it’s hard to get,” said Commission Chairman Phil Carson. “It’s not the dial up that we did have but it’s expensive. Citizens deserve getting better broadband for communicating with the world.”
Commissioners are looking to make nine appointments to the committee — two county representatives, two Swain County Schools representatives, one Bryson City town representative and four at-large appointments.
Committee members will serve a three-year term and will not serve more than two consecutive terms. Members will serve without compensation and will meet at least once a month. Members are required to attend at least 75 percent of the meetings or they will be removed.
Once established, the committee will be required to provide quarterly reports to the commissioners. The first report will be due in July.