Over 500 Homes Could Get Faster Internet Access

BENSON – Several hundred homes near Benson could be getting faster internet service. CenturyLink is seeking local and state funds to upgrade internet access to 505 homes just north of the Benson city limits including homes on Benson-Hardee Road, Elevation Road, Byrdtown Road and Tarheel Road.

Derrick Kelly, Government Affairs Director for CenturyLink appeared before Johnston County Commissioners on Oct. 5th updating them on the project.  Mr. Kelly said most of the homes already have internet access but at slower speeds. The proposed upgrade would allow the homeowners to subscribe to gigabit speeds.

The cost to upgrade service to the 505 homes is just over $916,000.  CenturyLink is seeking a grant to cover more than $641,000 of the cost.  They asked commissioners to contribute $27,490 towards the remaining cost.

Benson Mayor Jerry Medlin attended the meeting. “The Town of Benson supports what CenturyLink is doing. We will do whatever we can to move this along… we encourage you to support this.”

“I think the County has got to find a solution to countywide to broadband. I’m glad that you’re going to do this and its going to help those folks but we have challenges moving forward of how we are going to provide broadband coverage to citizens throughout the county,” Commissioner Tony Braswell told Kelly.

Commissioners said some eastern and northern parts of the county have no internet access.

The board voted unanimously to contribute $27,490 towards the cost of the Benson-area internet service upgrade.  If the state grant is awarded to Centurylink, it could take up to two years before the service upgrade is completed. Homeowners would then be required to subscribe to the faster service.