February 23, 2022
I attended the Dillon County Council meeting tonight and came away with the belief that this was one of the best days in the history of Dillon County.
At this meeting, Council signed an agreement with Spectrum to provide rural high speed internet access to 95% of Dillon County. One of the main issues keeping rural Dillon County from moving ahead with additional growth is the lack of high speed internet access. It reminds me of the start of rural electric cooperatives in the 1930’s. Before then, private utility companies chose not to expand into rural areas because of a sparse distribution of customers. At that time there was very little electricity available for heating, lighting, and water. The formation of the electric cooperatives brought electricity to the rural areas and transformed lives.
The pandemic has shown that high speed internet is invaluable for home based learning. Telemedicine is being used for medical services at less cost than clinic visits, and it must be available to rural as well as urban areas. Rural residents in our county are at a great disadvantage in many aspects as they struggle to access the internet with slow or nonexistent connection speeds.
I would like to thank the Dillon County Council, with Buzzy Finklea as chairperson and Clay Young as past administrator, for having the foresight to pursue high speed rural internet. I thank Senator Kent Williams and Representative Jackie Hayes, who were the driving forces in securing the funding and in getting Spectrum to put Dillon County at the top of the installation list. Lastly, I am very proud of my District Councilman, Gerome McLeod, for all the work that he has put in over the last three years to make sure rural internet service will be made available to all residents of Dillon County.
I congratulate and thank everybody involved for a job well done!
Thomas C. Bethea, Jr.
Hwy. 34 West
Dillon, SC 29536