Asheboro, N.C.–Randolph Communications was honored on Tuesday, May 22, with a visit from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai during his Piedmont Digital Opportunity Tour. During his visit, Chairman Pai learned about the rich history of Randolph Communications as well as the need for continued fiber deployment as the means to provide quality and reliable broadband in the rural communities we live and serve.
Randolph staff were able to share their success stories but also the struggles of meeting the demands of its customers—whether it be the need for federal regulation changes so broadband-only is an option and the challenges faced with federal budget restrictions so the company can lower price points.
Randolph explained that in 1998 it began its FTTH (fiber to the home) buildout. Since then the company has invested over $42Million in its fiber plant putting more than 1,025 miles of fiber in the ground. To overbuild its entire ILEC (membership territory) service area it would take an additional $22Million. CEO & General Manager Kim Garner stated, “Our priority, and the reason Randolph Telephone Membership Corporation was founded, is to bring quality and reliable service to the rural communities. Today, we are committed more than ever to make sure high-speed internet is available to those who have the need for high-speed internet whether that is for home, work, and/or school.”
Garner further commented and shared with Chairman Pai,“Having quality broadband is crucial, especially for our students.” She stated, “One of our scholarship applicants, Miss Arden Tally of Goldston, explained in her essay that until Randolph Communications brought fiber to their home, her family at times would occasionally drive to school and park in the parking lot just so they could access the internet. And at one time, her whole family went to Asheboro and stayed at a hotel to have access to the internet.”“That is really tough to hear that students don’t have access to the tools they need, Garner stated. “We were thankful that our fiber was available for her family to take advantage of. We will continue our plan of having fiber optic broadband available throughout our service territories in rural NC.”
Chairman Pai realizes the need for quality and reliable high-speed internet in rural communities and states, “Rural internet access is a critical priority for the FCC and country. Thanks to Randolph Communications for discussing the benefits of and barriers to broadband deployment.” He also commended the company by saying, “They’re helping deliver digital opportunity to counties in which they serve.” CEO & General Manager Kim Garner commented, “Being able to share our rural story with Chairman Pai was invaluable. We sincerely thank him for the opportunity.”