Over the past two decades, the percentage of individuals using the internet has increased tenfold. According to the Pew Research Center, 87 percent of individuals in America used the internet, email, or accessed the internet via a mobile device in 2014. Internet has become a staple for everyday activities and communications in the 21st Century world, but many still do not have access to the internet at home.
In 2013, only 75.2 percent of individuals in North Carolina live in a household with high-speed internet according to the Pew Research Center. This 75.2 percent is not only below the national average, but shows a possible disconnect between the percentage of people that use and need the internet and the percentage of the people who have access to internet at home. While the data is not representative of Pamlico County at the local level, it does help to give insight on the problem of internet availability in the county.
Pamlico Community College has been faced with the issue of internet availability in Pamlico County for many years, especially with the rise of the distance education era. When students do not have access to internet outside of school, or when the internet is unstable in locations throughout the county, it becomes harder for the student to complete assignments, do research, and study. Understanding this issue, PCC has taken steps over the years to improve the internet connection on campus.
Just recently, PCC’s internet underwent a large renovation and upgrade. “The primary improvement in the wireless internet connection is bandwidth. For quite a while there were no high speed bandwidth options, but when the service became available to our area, we adopted it,” says Scott Frazer, Director of Computer Services.
The new and improved wireless internet at PCC will not only make the connection more reliable for students, but it allows for greater efficiency in completing assignments on campus. Students no longer have to rely on desktop computers in the library or throughout campus to do work. “Faster and more reliable wireless internet enables students to use their own personal devices with confidence not only in the library, but throughout campus,” says Leigh Russell, Chair of Library Services and Cultural Enrichment Programs.
Students are not the only ones benefiting from the upgrade. The new and improved wireless internet will allow the community to have access to reliable internet. “Community users may bring their personal devices to the PCC library and connect wirelessly. Just like our students, if community users are having problems with their home internet connection, they can come to PCC and have access,” says Russell.
Students and citizens not only can experience the benefits of a new and improved wireless internet on the main campus of PCC, but can utilize the same service in all PCC buildings, including the Career Center, Bayboro Center, and Cosmetology Center. The Cosmetology Center even provides wireless internet to clients. “Clients will now be able to enjoy high speed wireless internet via the college’s new hotspot. Email, surf the web, or enjoy social media while you wait,” says Frazer.
Pamlico Community College’s purpose is not only to serve the students, but to serve the community as well. This upgrade helps the college, the students, and the community. As Dr. Cleve Cox, President of PCC, states, “This upgrade is long overdue and will be appreciated throughout the entire campus and the county.”