Putnam County officials looking to upgrade internet speeds

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PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Technology and county officials met Tuesday in Putnam County to discuss the possibility of adding high speed internet.

There are more questions than answers right now, but they are hoping to expand the economy and create growth within the next five to 10 years through internet.

As an interior designer and business owner, Elizabeth Yeager never thought internet would be a factor in slowing down her sales.

"A lot of time we will be in someone's home trying to reference a product or a picture that we have done before and it will just be spinning, so the importance for quick internet for us is everything," she said.

She says it's been an issue for years in Putnam County.

"Some days we don't have the fastest internet or it will just cut out," Yeager said.

Currently the county is running on broadband services, which is on telephone poles. That's why mayors and commissioners met with technology officials who are looking into getting fiber internet that would be placed underground, making internet speeds up to 50 times faster than the current rate.

"If we build the infrastructure, our kids will go to school, there will be advanced studies here, the jobs will be here so they will have job placement when they graduate," said Alpha Technologies CEO Doug Tate.

Tate says adding fiber internet to the county will allow hospitals, law enforcement and schools to grow.

And while Tuesday was just a small stepping stone to a bigger project, Yeager is hoping this gives her kids a reason to stay when they grow up.

"This is where I have grown up, this is where my family is, so I hate to see young people leave and think the industry in West Virginia isn't thriving," Yeager said. "If technology is the way for us to make that happen, then of course I think that it's a great idea for us to be able to pursue every opportunity we can so people stay here, grow here and make West Virginia all that it can be."

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