Updated Thu, Nov 29, 2012 4:49 pm
Residents and businesses in Washington County are one step closer to having broadband Internet access after a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday.
The ceremony marks the first deployment of residential and commercial broadband Internet services for the county.
About 6,000 homes and businesses in the area do not have access to high speed Internet.
Governor's Office of Appalachia Director Jason Wilson says Smart Networks' broadband service will open up the digital barriers for residents.
“Broadband is going to open up their world, whether we’re talking about the entrepreneurial spirit that we are trying to ignite, to education, healthcare, participation in democracy -- countless ways,” says Wilson.
Officials say they believe there will be a positive effect on education, economic development and public safety.
Chad Henson, chief operating officer of Smart Networks, says the company's goal is to install service to "as many customers a week as possible," which would mean 30 new customers each week.
Smart Networks already has wireless Internet equipment on two towers in Marietta.
Towers in Beverly, Macksburg and Quincy Hill will be the next to receive the equipment.