Important meeting Thursday for King William residents who want high-speed internet

Important meeting Thursday for King William residents who want high-speed internet

KING WILLIAM, VA (WWBT) - Offline and falling behind - that's life in King William County with spotty internet service.

Spotty internet service makes everything difficult, from school work to business. So how do people in rural King William deal with slow or no internet? They turned to the On Your Side Investigators to help spread the word to local residents who are still waiting for high speed internet.

Two county residents contacted NBC 12, asking for help informing residents. Here's the problem: the county has a survey asking people how they feel about the service and what they want. Ironically, the survey is only online, and few people know about an important meeting planned for this Thursday.

The meeting notice is also only posted online on the King William county webpage.

"We don't live a hundred miles away from the nearest town. We live about 40 minutes from Mechanicsville. We should have better options than we do," said resident Shannon Butler.

She and others want to enjoy both a country lifestyle and decent internet service. Butler and Resident Damien DiDomenico started a Facebook group called "King William Hi-Speed Internet." They're working to get all 15,935 residents talking to politicians and letting supervisors know they want affordable and reliable internet in King William sooner than later.

"I have the opportunity to work from home sometimes and telecommute. Unfortunately, because of the connectivity issues with the satellite, there is a significant lag in the internet speed," said DiDomenico.

"It's very slow. All we have is satellite. It's very expensive," said Butler. "I'm paying a hundred dollars a month for about 15 gigs, which lasts maybe a week."

Parents also worry the technology gap is impairing their kids ability to compete and excel.

"It's been very difficult. Our children can't take online classes many times because the videos or the instructions that they have to download will just buffer," said DiDomenico.

The spotty service will be discussed at a meeting Thursday, March 16 at King William High School at 6 p.m.

There is also a survey county leaders want residents to complete, but it's only online. DiDomenico is urging resident who don't have internet to go to a friend's house and complete the survey and show up for the meeting.

The survey is available only online through the end of March. They want residents to press county leaders to research and commit to improving internet options.

"We could cut our DirecTV bill in half. We could cut our cellphone bill in half. We could have access to online schools," said Butler.

The supervisors' chairman says it's preliminary and an all-volunteer effort. He says the survey is designed to get baseline information on what people are using and how to improve internet service.

He says they've already gotten one thousand responses, despite only using Facebook and newspaper ads. Residents we spoke to believe the county should have done more to reach more people about the survey and meeting.

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