CONWAY — With a number of low income residents, Conway town officials want to bring affordable high speed Internet to the area.

The desire stems from the Golden Leaf Rural Broadband Initiative and MCNC installing fiber optic cable through the town and county.

“Our intentions are to operate the service like a nonprofit, only covering the cost of installing and maintaining service,” said Mayor Brian Bolton.

For town officials, it is about residents being able to compete in attracting business and finding jobs.

“And most of all level the playing field for our school children,” Bolton said.

“We can’t expect a family on social services to pay $50 for Internet.”

If town officials can provide the service, Bolton said they would charge between $15 to $20 to make it fair for others.

There are municipalities in the state with wireless networks, such as the town of Cary.

Bolton contacted Donna Sullivan from the North Carolina League of Municipalities about how to start the process.

Sullivan noted House Bill 129 prohibits municipalities from owning and operating a government-owned network without going through an approval process.

“The League of Municipality should be able to assist you with the process should you choose to pursue such an approval,” she said.

Bolton added the reason it is prohibited is because Internet access is not a utility.

Sullivan said the technical assistance program is designed to help local governments/municipalities with broadband initiatives and technology-based economic development.

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