Internet Speeds Could be on the Rise in Sussex County - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Internet Speeds Could be on the Rise in Sussex County

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell speaks on expanding high-speed Internet in Sussex County, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (Photo: WBOC) Delaware Gov. Jack Markell speaks on expanding high-speed Internet in Sussex County, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (Photo: WBOC)
GEORGETOWN, Del.- The notoriously poor Internet service in Sussex County could soon see a major boost. Gov. Jack Markell on Tuesday gathered with various other Delaware lawmakers at La Red in Georgetown to announce phase two of his initiative to spread fiber lines to rural areas in the county.

In May, the state completed a $4 million project to expand fiber lines all the way down the state from Wilmington to Georgetown. On Tuesday, Markell announced the next part of the plan, where the state will offer a $2 million grant to any company that will expand the fiber lines away from downtown to more rural parts of the county.

About three miles from Route 113, the Red Barn Country Store in Georgetown is one of those businesses that hopes to benefit from the Internet expansion. The business hosts field trips throughout the year, said owner Keith Lankford, who noted that the Internet has been a problem for him.

"Our Internet is super slow," he said. "And you can't get it, especially in the store sometimes. We really don't have Internet."

Lankford's story is very typical in the county. He said that he has tried to improve Internet access in the past, but has been rejected because of his location. He told WBOC that many companies have told him that the cost of spreading these fiber lines has been too much for what they call too small of a benefit.  

Markell and various lawmakers at La Red told the crowd that they hoped this initiative would tip the scale, so that businesses would take on the project. Lankford said that the benefits for the businesses are vast. 

"It really will open the world to us," he said. "People don't really know about our small place here."

Chris Galletto, the IT specialist at La Red, said that the benefits would be great for the hospital as well, opening the door for what they call "telemedicine." 

"It will be night and day," he said. "This is a night and day change." 

Galletto said that hospitals like La Red can use this higher connectivity level to initiate brand new techniques. He explained that doctors across the globe can offer analysis, by examining high definition videos from local hospitals. He said these new techniques are only possible though with powerful internet connection. 

"One gig is about 1,000 megabytes," he said. "(These lines) allow for a 10 gig connection. That's 10,000 megabytes per second." 

Galletto said that the average household not connected to fiber is using 1.5 megabytes per second. He said that these lines would make their Internet speeds nearly 7,000 times faster in the county.

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