Broadband available to students through pilot program

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, March 2, 2021

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Hyde County Schools is looking to increase access to broadband for students throughout the county. 

Hyde County has been identified as severely lacking access to broadband by the North Carolina Department of Information Technology. With students, teachers and parents relying on the internet to access vital information regarding school, the need for expansion and integration of broadband is urgent. 

“I believe in my heart bath remote learning and virtual instruction is not going away even if covid does,” Superintendent Stephen Basnight said. “I think it’s part of education and our adult lives and it concerns me that Hyde County doesn’t have a more reliable broadband particularly for its student body.”

The mainland will be supplied broadband by RiverStreet through a pilot program. 

“We’re working closely with NC State University and the Friday Institute. We’ve been able to acquire a pilot grant through them that will pay for some of the tech that river street is trying to pilot,” Basnight said. 

The mainland project will focus on Engelhard and the surrounding area for one year under the current $36,000 pilot grant. The funds from this grant will be used to provide students and their families in this specific area with access to broadband at no cost. Several homes in Engelhard are already connected to RiverStreet’s service, with homes on Lazy Lane being the current focus of connection efforts. 

Ocracoke will be working with SpaceX and utilizing satellite receivers to access broadband. These satellite receivers are planned to ship to Hyde County this week. Similarly to the RiverStreet project, Ocracoke has a pilot grant totaling $88,000 that will cover the connecting of 48 homes to broadband for one year.