The South Carolina Broadband Office has designed a website and survey to capture the public’s demand for internet access. The website, www.scdigitaldrive.org, hosts broadband availability maps, data and statistics, and access to free internet speed tests. The website features a voluntary “I Need Internet” survey that is accessible by any member of the public who chooses to provide details about their current internet status. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) may view and use information to determine areas throughout the state that have the greatest need for internet services.
As of October 2021, an estimated 221,731 housing units in South Carolina lacked access to the FCC-recommended internet service levels of 25Mbps download / 3Mbps upload speeds.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly shown that the internet has become even more important as an access point for education, telehealth, and staying connected with family members, among many other important services,” said Jim Strizinger, Director of the state’s Broadband Office, which is housed within the Office of Regulatory Staff. “From paying bills to having the ability to work remotely, access to quality internet is crucial to every single resident of South Carolina.”
The South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) represents consumers of investor-owned utilities in South Carolina before the Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSC). The PSC is the state agency that sets utilities’ rates. The ORS must look at the impact to the consumer and utilities’ continued investment in reliable and high-quality services.