BROADWAY, Virginia (WHSV) – A number of people in the Broadway and Fulks Run area have reported having problems connecting to the Internet. Shentel is set to discontinue Beam internet service at the end of November, which is adding to the concern.
“If we lose Beam, we basically won’t have fast, reliable internet which will affect everything in our home from my freelance work at home to my daughter’s schoolwork,” said Mary Jo Ferenc, who lives off Broadway.
Shentel’s Beam Internet service was reliable for customers in the Broadway area, but in late September, Shentel sent a message to customers that the service would be discontinued at the end of November. The company noted changes in the broadband landscape.
“Beam is a great resource for the internet and for just dropping by without anyone having any other choice, it feels like we’ve all been left out in the cold and going back in time,” Veurink said. “It will look like it was several years ago when many of us didn’t have options to go online which seems ridiculous in 2022. We realize The boycott is trying to bring the Internet to everyone But it’s a slow process.”
Losing Beam is even more worrisome for Broadway-area customers because those without Beam say the other options haven’t been great.
“We’re kind of stuck with nothing because there’s no DSL available, there’s no Comcast. There’s nothing but Hughesnet and DirecTV.” Broadway-area Zack Roberts said:
Roberts worries that the region’s lack of reliable internet options puts those who live there at a disadvantage.
“If we get to another situation where schools are closed and we need internet from home to make Zoom calls, which makes it very difficult. I hope and pray we don’t get to that point again, but if we do that it will put us at a disadvantage and I think that is a matter of safety “.
Others in the area use T-Mobile for their phone and internet service which has had major problems lately.
said Chris Bolgiano, who lives on Broadway with her husband, Ralph.
Bolgiano and other T-Mobile customers say cellular service, which usually wasn’t a problem, has been scant in the area for the past two weeks.
“It’s like living in the year 1800. There’s no connection you have to get in your car and go somewhere to talk to anyone. We’ve lost our landline. It’s almost scary,” Bolgiano said.
Roberts and his family had to switch from Sprint to T-Mobile when T-Mobile bought Sprint. He said he had similar problems at home.
“There are dead zones on our street that go to our house, and then sometimes when you’re inside, you tap a call and the calls will drop out because there’s not enough service,” Roberts said.
Bolgianos said that unless they want to drive into town, they can currently only get cell phone service on their rooftop which is a major concern.
“It can be life-threatening or dangerous for a lot of people. If you need to make a call and there’s a hurricane you can’t reach on your rooftop,” Ralph Bolgiano said, “You probably can’t drive in your driveway because a tree has fallen across it and you can’t even get to it.” To the city to make a phone call.”
The couple said they did not receive any answers as to the cause of the problem.
We just received some very vague euphemisms. “Well we think it will be fixed or hopefully it will be fixed.” Then there’s another service number that we called the same no-answer number. “I would say somewhat evasive,” Ralph said.
T-Mobile did not provide a comment on the situation when contacted by WHSV on Tuesday. This story will be updated as WHSV learns more.
Chris Kyle, Shentel’s Vice President of Regulatory and Industry Affairs, provided the following statement regarding the reasons for discontinuing the Beam Internet service.
The decision to terminate Beam’s service was not easy. We understand the impact of removing internet access on individuals and families. We have invested tens of millions of dollars to ensure that those who need access to the Internet, especially during the height of the pandemic.
However, at this time, Shentel is shifting its spectrum in these areas to a national wireless provider that will be able to provide additional wireless broadband coverage. Over the next few weeks, we will provide additional details as our spectrum transition progresses.
We saw ourselves as part of the solution to bridging the digital divide, and worked the grant selection process with the Commonwealth to receive funds from the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) to continue, and even expand, this service.
Unfortunately, due to several factors, the grant landscape has changed drastically, and funds have been allocated to fiber providers across our Beam region. We understand that this is a difficult transition, but we understand that companies that have received grant funding will be installing fiber networks in these areas.
In addition to a new national wireless provider adding wireless broadband service in these areas, we also hope that the supported fiber companies will be able to provide broadband service so that communities have multiple alternatives to their Internet service.
Please visit the Commonwealth Connection Map at: https://commonwealth-connection.com/ For the latest information on fiber optic service grants.
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