Local News

Residents hold summit to revitalize rural parts of Franklin County

Posted January 30, 2019 6:24 p.m. EST

— Despite an ever-growing population, North Carolina is still a largely rural state where many communities have no high-speed internet.

Melissa Hodges, who grew up in northeastern Franklin County, now owns a business called Tastin' Jamaican. But Hodges said there is no reception in the area.

"Right now, you can't even come into this area with a cellphone and get service," she said.

Jim Foster and one of his neighbors figured they needed to find an answer to the rural life hang-up.

In the summer of 2017, they met in his neighbor's kitchen.

"By the third meeting, we had his house full," Foster said.

Now, their state representative shows up and speaks up.

"Let us continue to be agitators and irritators until the county commissioners get sick of us," said Rep. Bobbie Richardson, D-Franklin.

At a meeting on Monday night, a tech consultant for the county laid out how they intend to bring broadband to the area.

The group that attended Monday's summit is also looking to expand on the farm-to-form movement.

The group is working to cultivate agri-tourism and encourage younger generations to follow the plow.

"One of the things I know that's lacking is there is no one interested in farming. (We're) trying to bring that love of farming back," said Dorothy Williams, a Franklin County resident.

The group is working with a consultant on several broadband proposals from northeastern Franklin County. They also plan to put Wi-Fi hot spots across the area.