Fiber-optics project gives Yancey top countywide broadband speeds in NC

“Charlotte and Raleigh will soon have the Google gig [for high-speed Internet access], but Burnsville and Yancey [counties] are already there,” says Dean Russell of Country Cablevision. The company partnered with Yancey County’s Economic Development Commission in a five-year project that, say the partners, “has made fiber broadband internet access available to every home and business in rural Yancey County, breaking down long-standing technological barriers created by the Blue Ridge Mountains.”

Here’s the press release:

Fiber Project Gives Yancey Top Countywide Broadband Speeds in NC

BURNSVILLE, N.C. – A five-year project has made fiber broadband internet access available to every home and business in rural Yancey County, breaking down long-standing technological barriers created by the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The $25.2 million project – which also includes neighboring Mitchell County – is a joint venture of the Yancey County EDC and local cable provider Country Cablevision. It has created “fiber to the door” access with standard internet speeds starting at 25 megabytes and ranging up to 100 megabytes. Custom speeds of one gigabyte are also available.

According to project manager Dean Russell of Country Cablevision, no other county in North Carolina has such Internet speeds available countywide.

“It’s the fastest internet in the state of North Carolina for a whole county,” said Russell, an industry veteran who’s worked on three dozen similar projects nationwide.

This claim is backed up by Keith Conover, a technical analyst in the Office of Digital Infrastructure for the State of North Carolina.

“This the first I know of any county that has countywide deployment,” Conover said. “It is the most significant project that I have ever dealt with. When I left Verizon after working 27 years with AT&T and then Verizon, I never saw a project this big.

Yancey County’s Economic Development Commission director Wanda Proffitt worked closely with Country Cablevision owner Ray Miller to secure federal stimulus funding via the Broadband Initiative Program (BIP). A grant accounted for $18.6 million of the total project price, with Country Cablevision receiving a BIP loan for the remaining $6.6 million.

“For rural counties like Yancey and Mitchell to have Internet speeds up to one gigabyte, it’s just unbelievable,” Proffitt says. “It overcomes the geographic barriers that existed in the past and levels the playing field for economic development.”

Proffitt says the next step is to share this technological advancement with individual workers and businesses who can locate anywhere as long as there is high-speed connectivity. Proffitt believes such individuals and businesses will be attracted to the quality of life available in this picturesque region of the Blue Ridge Mountains, just 35 miles northeast of Asheville.

“You can live in Burnsville where quality of life is number one. We have the scenery, the mountains, an active arts scene and low cost of living,” she said. “We are wired and welcome you here. Bring your high-tech business and locate in Yancey County.”

Word is beginning to spread about Yancey’s fiber internet capabilities. One professor now teaches international college classes from a residence in the county, while another instructs at a major university in the Midwest. A medical professional uses the service to examine x-rays in California, while Proffitt’s niece is a software product specialist who works for an international company based in California.

Russell says there are eight fiber Internet customers in Yancey who live off the power grid.

“If you think about it: Charlotte and Raleigh will soon have the Google gig, but Burnsville and Yancey County are already there,” said Russell, who has built systems in New Orleans, Washington DC, Cleveland and Chicago. “Pick the most remote home in this county and you can know they can have the same capability and speeds as Rosemont Street in downtown Chicago.”

The project started in the summer of 2010, with the first customers in Yancey County coming online in April 2014. Construction continued in Yancey County until March 2015, and is now expanding to Mitchell County, where areas are being added monthly. When fully complete, the project will involve nearly 1,500 miles of fiber in both counties.

“Some places talk about fiber to the community or fiber to the curb. This is fiber straight to the side of your home or business. Where the power meter is, that’s where the fiber goes,” Russell said. “We have some of the fastest internet in the nation right here in Burnsville. This is a base for growth in this region.”


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10 thoughts on “Fiber-optics project gives Yancey top countywide broadband speeds in NC

  1. It turns out that it isn’t going to be county wide. The money is drying up, or perhaps has dried up, and many of us are still relegated to getting our internet access through overburdened phone lines. There are two streets in my neighborhood. Country Cablevision hooked up the residents on one street today. One of those residents asked about the other street. He was told it wasn’t going to happen over there. Word on the street is that you have to have the right connections. A contractor for Country Cablevision told my husband that it’s a shame that wealthy people have received preference when the service was intended to help the poor mountain folks. We’re in between those two categories and I can live without high speed cable, but I would be interested to know where all the money went.

    • Daniel Steuber


      Very interesting to hear because I’ve been given BS timelines since 2013 on this. I’m up in northern Mitchell County, have a wire dangling from my house for the last 5 months, and keep getting the “Oh dang, I dunno…. huh huh huh…” from Country Cablevision. If they blew the $25 million allotted for the Counties, is there a legal course of action that could be taken? I don’t want any money, I just want the incompetent to be held responsible. The Federal Gov doesn’t mind blowing money when they do it, but in my experience with subcontractors, they take a keen interest in finding out “why” the job wasn’t completed with the money allotted.

  2. Daniel, Things have changed a bit since my original comment. CC was given a second grant, this time a 50/50 match, as they told me. They came to finish our neighborhood under that grant, so as of last week, we have service. My suggestion would be to call them again and ask when they are going to hook you up. Best of luck.

  3. Erin

    I have purchased a house after having our realtor confirm the property was within the scope for fiber. Now, more than 4 years later and almost 10 emails to Dean Russell (Project manager for country cablevision) we still have no service and struggle with DSL that no longer is supported for our area, due to the distance we are from the main DSL hub. Now (2017) I struggle to get ANY response from Mr. Russell as to when the service will finally be installed. I am researching where to report the lack of completion on this project. Public funds should have some accountability I’m sure.

  4. Toren

    I am also waiting for the promised fiber optic cable. I was promised 2 years ago that this cable would be at the home I was purchasing in Mitchell County before closing on it. Well, it is almost 2 years later and I still have no date as to when/if I will get internet service. I would like to get together with others in this situation to see what we might be able to do to speed things up. It seems that CCV is upgrading some of their customers to the fiber optic rather that giving it to us who have NO internet.

  5. Toren

    I was promised fiber optic cable before closing on my home in Mitchell County almost 2 years ago. I would like to know if there is anyone else out there still without internet access who would like to get together and see if there is anything we can do about this endless delay

    • Eric Mann

      I have been researching a little to inquire how to report or if I should report to the USDA who were the organization for the federal grant of the “Broadband Intitiative” project that largely funded this project. I have not yet received a response as to what or how to approach this issue, but I will provide you a link to this specific project site where I encourage you to inquire as I did. Maybe if there are more folks who inquire about this issue it will catch someone’s eye??

      I am glad to participate in any way I can to move this project forward and make them comply with the promised services that the project was funded for!

  6. Toren

    Hi. I just wanted to let you know what I have done so far. Besides countless phone calls to Country Cable Vision which resulted in nothing, I have written to Mark Meadows, Congressman. Did get a reply from his office and they contacted CCV and were told that there was no plan to get to my street anytime soon. I also called USDA Rural Utilities representative for NC, VA and W VA. His name is Richard Jenkins and he seemed to be very familiar with the project although in the end he was not much use. His number is 681-318-3236 and cell number: 304-445-5369.
    I have to leave this short or I will get disconnected and lose the message once again as happened last night. Do you live in Yancey or Mitchell?

  7. Greg M

    In same situation as everyone else…… I purchased a home in Mitchell county based off of the access to this “Broadband project” which offers fiber optic service. Have contacted CCV every couple weeks since my closing in May 2017 and have been told, it will be soon, it will be in two weeks, if you pay an additional 360+ dollars we can move you up on the schedule, to finally….. WE DON’T KNOW and can’t give you a date. I am looking for a contact with the USDA rural utilities to determine the scope of the project and if there is a misconduct of funds within the scope of the project…. Does anyone have anything new to this issue or maybe new contact information that may lead to some kind of help in getting this service as outlined in this project?
    Thank you

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