“Trust me, it works,” Brian Mefford told legislators, reporters and others gathered today for the grand unveiling of Connected Nation’s map of broadband availability in North Carolina. Unfortunately, on the day of the launch, ConnectNorthCarolina.org had some bugs to work out, in particular the much touted address search function, which Mefford, and N.C. Rep. Bill Faison, have touted, which would allow North Carolina residents to plug in their addresses to find out if broadband service is available to them, at what cost and through which providers.
Two Connected Nation staffers scrambled to pull up the map on other computers while Mefford and Faison speculated about the source of the technical difficulties.
Mefford is Chairman and CEO of Connected Nation, a company seeking to position itself as the go-to source for such maps, and the would-be recipient of millions of dollars in federal stimulus money designated for that purpose. Mapping a lack of high-speed Internet availability is a necessary step in the federal government’s plan to expand Internet access across the country.
Last December, the Independent reported on Connected Nation’s move into North Carolina despite the existence of a pioneering state entity that has been