LANSING — Business owners, residents and county officials met with Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai and U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Tuesday to share the frustrations they feel living, working and driving tourism in a state that ranks 48th in broadband accessibility.
Just north of the New River Gorge Bridge, the image chosen for the official West Virginia State Quarter, Lansing is home to rafting companies and substantial residential development. But lack of broadband access is hindering growth and stability.
On Auction House Road in Lansing, Crosiers Sanitary Services fights to stay abreast of competitors, explained owner Ron Crosier.
“Competitors in neighboring states are using technology we own but cannot utilize,” he explained. “We bought the commercial property 10 years ago with the expectation that broadband would be coming very soon and put us on even footing with our competitors, and that just hasn’t come to pass.”
His business is just 1,500 feet from an existing high speed cable.
His competitors have accountants who work on servers remotely and communicate and track their trucks on their routes.
“In a logistics business with routes that change several times a day, being able to determine where your equipment is is very important. We end up calling them, which distracts them from their work, and we don’t want them to answer the phone while they are driving,” he explained.
Software developer Chris Whisenhunt moved to Fayetteville four years ago where he was able to work from home. Without realizing he would not have high speed internet, he purchased a home in Lansing and must make weekly trips in to Fayetteville, use his phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot or rely on others help him accomplish tasks online.
At times he contacts coworkers in California or London to have them drag and drop a file or upload something for him.
Providers estimate it will cost him $33,000 to connect his home to the wire terminus, a distant of 100 yards.
Had he known, he would not have purchased the Lansing home, he said…
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