(Star (Shelby, NC) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 15--With the help of local leaders and a communications agency, previously disconnected areas of the county are starting to plug into the technology age.
In mid-2013, The Star reported on Revo Communications' plans to provide more cell phone service capabilities in areas behind the curve in wireless technology.
The goal: deliver technology to students to help them succeed in school and train for jobs and provide cellular services to prepare for emergencies.
Northern, western region focus
Revo Communications leaders plan to bring high-speed Internet access to rural areas of the United States by using broadband Internet service. They started their work in Shelby during the summer of 2013.
"It was ambitious and we are still plugging away with it. We said our goal is to cover all of Cleveland County," said Revo President Joe Campbell. "This is still our mission and still the goal."
Revo has equipped Uptown Shelby buildings with antennas, such as the Shelby Police Department, the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office and accounting office Gragg & Gragg.
Now, Revo is ready to connect the northern and western areas of Cleveland County, Campbell said.
"Our network is further south now and a little further east. We have already accomplished up towards Fallston," Campbell said. "Our big push is up to the north and west. We have road-mapped our plans and hope to be finished by the end of March."
Internet and education
In August, Revo teamed with the Cleveland County Boys and Girls Club to create a class to train students and their parents on technology and provided them with a laptop and broadband Internet.
The first class of three families and six children graduated at the end of 2013.
Six children were chosen from the Boys and Girls Club After-School Program to take the Digital Literacy Training Course.
"We are in the process of setting up our second class," Campbell said. "The class received a tremendous response. Many of the parents were overwhelmed with gratitude for the program."
'Cell phone signal has always been an issue'
County leaders have joined the effort to connect the county.
Commissioners voted in November for five zoning permits that would place AT&T cell phone tower signals around the county.
AT&T is leasing space on towers that are currently used for 911 dispatches, said Mark Dellinger, the county electronic maintenance director.
"This should improve the standard of coverage in areas where it is lacking and it won't compromise the emergency transmissions," said county manager Jeff Richardson. "It's good for the citizens and is taking existing infrastructure and helping generate private sector dollars."
AT&T approached the county in 2013 about having a space on the towers for more cell phone coverage in the area. So far, other cell phone providers haven't contacted the county to also increase their presence, Dellinger said.
"This is pure revenue and helps the taxpayers, rather than us taking from them," he said. "Cell phone signal has always been an issue and this is a good thing for AT&T users to make their signal better."
Reach Jessica Pickens at 704-669-3332 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at @StarJPickens.
Where are the new county-approved ATT towers located?
-Delight Road, Lawndale
-Jesse Mountain Road, Casar
-Maple Springs Church Road, Shelby
-Acres Echo Road, Mooresboro
-East College Avenue, Boiling Springs
Who will Revo upgrades serve?
A look at Shelby, the first part of the county Revo Communications will serve:
Number of businesses: 2,170
Number of households: 8,228
Number of Cleveland County Schools students: 6,992
Number of Free Lunch Students: 2,565
Number of Reduced Lunch Students: 324
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