Letter to the Editor

Communication in the Dark


Dear Editor

I’ve been a resident of Edgefield County over twenty years.  We live on a paved road, have electricity and basic land line phone service. By the standards of the 1980’s, that’s not bad. What is not good is we are approaching the year 2020, and the technology of twenty years ago is still unavailable for most of Edgefield County.
In December 2006, AT&T, Bell South, the Federal Communications Commission, and various South Carolina utility regulatory agencies signed an agreement that would allow the two companies to merge on the condition that within one year (December 2007) AT&T would be able to provide access to broadband communications to all Bell South customers affected by the merger. We are over ten (10) years past that deadline, and numerous attempts to contact AT&T about this matter have not been answered.
The state agencies which are parties to this agreement are as responsible as the arrogant AT&T monopoly. Our local representatives and senator have not been helpful, either.
We still have very marginal cell service and no access to Internet except via satellite, and as of now, we’ve not heard anyone bragging about how great that is.  It seems that the only benefactors of the amazing capabilities of good cell service and fast Internet service are the city slickers who live in or near Edgefield, Johnston, North Augusta, or Trenton. The rest of the county seems to be in the dark.
In addition to the inconvenience, there are economic penalties. It’s hard to sell a house to someone coming from an enlightened area if you can’t honestly tell the buyer the cell and Internet work well. That also applies to businesses and parents of children taking classes where research is required.
As a matter of public safety, the sparse distribution of cell towers makes it a real dangerous situation for anyone involved in an accident in a rural area trying to call for help.

Charles Eubank
In the digital hole in the earth,
Suburb of Johnston


2 Responses to "Letter to the Editor"

  1. B Ezell   June 12, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    The FCC allowed AT&T to acquire DTV but with a few stipulations, one being that AT&T deliver broadband to rural markets. Why they don’t use DTV is beyond me, except for cost I suppose, never the less, AT&T is rolling out a terrestrial wireless broadband they call WLL. The roll out schedule is kept with the FCC. AT&T has addressed several states and locations but hitting all rural markets will take time. BTW, I live in a rural market as well and have a telecomms background. the frustrating reality is the capital investmen required to extend service to a sparsely populated area….recovery of investment gets really stretched out. Never the less, the FCC has made the Clinton telecomms act funds available to any/all vendors – so we may be entering a time where the consumers – all consumers – need to unite and yell louder. rural markets must be addressed

  2. Cindie   May 25, 2018 at 7:14 am

    Charles – What a great letter I have been looking at homes in your area and yes this is a factor when choosing a home – Definitely your county commissioners have the ability to negotiate a broadband contract – This speaks volumes to their ability to lead effectively.
    Maybe it is time for new leaders in Edgefield County.