Broadband Is Arriving In County

By Betsy Finklea
If you have seen the Spectrum crews around the county laying the huge rolls of cable, then you know one thing—broadband is arriving in Dillon County.

This is all part of a larger project of ‘unprecedented” rural network construction by Charter taking place in a number of states, according to Pat Paterno, director of PR for the Carolina Region of Charter.
“Charter is investing $5 billion, offset by more than $1 billion in federal funds, to build out its network to approximately one million homes and small businesses in 24 states,” Paterno said. “Charter is extending its network and expanding gigabit broadband to thousands of other locations across our footprint through public-private partnerships with state and local governments.”
Charter received federal funds to build out broadband to 75-80 percent of Dillon County as noted in a Dillon County Council meeting in March. At this meeting, Dillon County entered into a public-private partnership with Charter to take on additional addresses to cover 95 percent of Dillon County. Charter invested $830,000 to do these additional addresses, and the county’s portion was $750,000, which will come from American Rescue Plan funds.
The total investment in broadband for Dillon County is $10 million.
To get all of this build-out done, Charter has created an in-house underground construction team to work in addition to the contract partners, said Michael Unsworth VP, for Underground Construction, Spectrum Cable. Unsworth explained that this will help Charter get the work done faster and help bring broadband to these areas on schedule. Unsworth said this is a multi-million dollar investment to help staff multiple crews, and they will continue to seek skilled labor for their construction teams. Charter also made a huge investment in equipment for the teams.
In Dillon County, these crews are working to serve more than 1,800 homes and businesses.
These crews are working in various parts on the county on different cells. Each cell services approximately 150 homes.
There are five crews in Dillon County with 8-10 people per crew and 10 machines installing the cable. They are installing about 4,000 to 5,000 feet per day in plowing and about 800-1,000 feet in horizontal drilling. There are 5,280 feet in a mile, and all crews are making about five to eight miles per day total.
Unsworth said by placing the cable in the underground they are providing a better, long-term product and getting the most out of the investment.
There will not be a big “turn-on” the broadband at the end of the project. Instead, broadband will be available incrementally as cells are completed. Potential customers will be notified as broadband becomes available in that area.
Resident are urged to be patient. Spectrum Broadband is coming to you and coming soon, but to give customers the best experience, the work will take precision and care and a little time.

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